Saturday, February 6, 2016

How We Became Who We ARE

It's been a while (October, '15) since I've posted a new article here.  That October post was actually the original post at the beginning of the 'blog' in July, 2008, introducing readers to the Course of Training and revealing what could be attained through participating in it.  Relatively speaking, few people know about what is available at this site, which is blog-like but not anything like a normal blog.  Most of who know about it ignore it.  Many come to give it a single reading and are momentarily inspired and uplifted by it. 

Then there are those who read each writing two or three times, finding it different each time they read it, and who participate in the comments following the article.  The best way to participate, or even read, the comments is to first click on the title at the top of the article.  Then you can scroll down through the article and directly to the comments.  At this point, you can participate anyway that feels true to your nature.  You can even ask questions that you could otherwise answer yourself were anyone to ask you, simply to increase and refine your own understanding.

Sharing the link to this site with your friends, or on social media, allows more people to know about it, and it might end up transforming their lives, as has happened with many.  The only way the Course grows is through word-of-mouth.  Simply share how it has helped you in your own life; you don't have to try to teach them the principles :)  Your own experience has the most Shakti--which, among other things, is the spiritual energy that is palpably passed on to those around you, where they have an actual experience of it.

For example, if this reading touches you deeply within your own Self, it is an experience of the Shakti.  If there is no Shakti, the words won't even make any sense and you probably won't even make it all the way through.

Anyway, you are here now, and that's all that matters for now.  Did you know that the same Consciousness that writes with clarity is the same Consciousness that reads with comprehension?  This is a significant point to understand, although it won't be understood overnight, or be comprehended with only one reading.

I posted the following a comment on my Facebook page (D.R. Butler).  It is actually an excerpt from a lesson in the Course.

We are totally immersed in Light. Even while occupying this physical body, we are engaged in all levels of Being simultaneously. This is difficult for the conscious mind to comprehend. We have long been conditioned to see things as ‘one or the other’, or ‘either this or that’. It is challenging to grasp that it all happens simultaneously, and we can be equally aware on one level as we are on another. All levels are aspects of our own Being.

Being ‘enlightened’ doesn’t mean we no longer participate in the objective world. Our participation in the outer world is our karma; or, the effect of the outer world on the ego. It belongs to the physical body alone. When we depart from this particular physical body, in ‘time’, what remains of the karmic seeds (the samskaras) at some point incarnates into a new body.

The next incarnation takes up where this one leaves off, in terms of spiritual growth. The karma that we worked free from is no longer present or relevant, while the remaining karmic seeds that prevent the individual from knowing the Self take a new form and shape. The next incarnation is the next cycle of karma. Then, more than ever before, the individual has the opportunity to merge with the Universal.

The above is an excerpt from a lesson in the Course via email, Living in the Truth of the Present Moment. For information and a sample lesson, write:
Then, in the thread that followed, I wrote the following:
I just read the post above, and I had to truly focus to have any idea what it was talking about. It made me realize that it actually comes from a lesson in the 7th year of the Course. One who has no knowledge of the Sanskrit language will miss a lot of terms that are essential to communicate the principles of Truth--which apply to all people in all places and at all times. For participants of the Course, basic Sanskrit terms are simply a part of their working vocabulary.

A longtime participant from Australia commented that it is 'beautiful'.
I have other Facebook friends who might see it as 'New Age Mumbo-Jumbo' simply because they don't understand the Sanskrit terms, or even the way the sentences and paragraphs are put together in a coherent and harmonious whole. Many people have fragmented the world so much, including themselves, have no idea of a coherent and harmonious whole, and know nothing about the series of incarnations the soul goes through for its own growth.  Life is beautiful when we 'defragment' it and start to see and live in the naturally harmonious flow of things as they are, without describing them or giving meaning to them.
Descriptions and the assignment of meanings are what initially confuses the mind and projects a painted reality that manifests from its own conditioning, somewhat like a spider creates a web from itself, without relying on any external help.  In the same way, Consciousness manifests whatever it is conscious of, without any outside help whatsoever.

Understanding of all this is processed during the first year of the Course, as we build a foundation of the primary principles of Truth and an expanded vocabulary that simply includes basic Sanskrit terms that allows us to communicate and comprehend subjects that are impossible to even know about without the use of these basic Sanskrit terms that refer to essential processes happening that we otherwise have no knowledge about or awareness of.  Simply by including the words karma and maya, for example, we understand the world and life in a whole new way that we otherwise have no idea of.

This entry is titled: How We Became Who We ARE

How we are, all the little intricacies that make us different from the next person, is entirely determined by how we think, which in turn determines the emotions we feel, which pretty much determine our experience of Life.  Basically we are as we conceive ourselves to be.  We create our own persona and personality, create our own role, and our own character, in this droll play of our life.  And the origin of all of it is the mind, or thoughts, which is mind-in-motion.  This creates, or attracts, conditions and experiences that correspond exactly with the nature of the thoughts that compelled them.

If we don't like anything about how we are, we can change it simply by changing our thoughts about it.  With this knowledge and understanding, create a great life, an enjoyable life, and a life that adds love and joy to the lives of those close to us, or those with whom we come in contact.  We can be a bundle of blissful energy, and you will be surprised how contagious this is, and how much we can contribute to the world around us.  This brings the ultimate contentment, and we will see that nothing can enhance or improve it.  In this exalted state we experience a life that was previously unimaginable.

All of this is clarified in the lessons of the Course.  For information about the Course, and a complimentary lesson, please write: 


BreathWorks said...

For a great many years I have been quietly contemplating something, and I wonder what would emerge from the Stream of Intelligence that authors the Course here about the matter -- what is the Unique Self/Selves that seem to exist within Infinite Omnipresence? It feels quite true at a deeper level than thought that there is a discreet self that operates as Attention/Awareness, and doesn't seem to become reduced or diminished as prior conditioning is seen-through and released. Is it only some form of unresolved conditioning that gives an appearance of a Unique Self, or is there indeed a Unique Self/Selves with or without conditioning?

D. R. Butler said...

Have been having some snafus with posting comments, so please bear with us as we correct that here. What follows are all the comments received to date, followed by my responses.

Taylor said...Thank you for this enlightening blog entry, D.R. What I find intriguing even after participating in the Course for 6 years, even after the evolution of my understanding, even after practicing the principles, Consciousness remains a total mystery. It's the whole game and all the players and the whole playing field and still remains elusive. So Humble!

D. R. Butler said...Taylor, I totally understand what you mean when you say it is all very humbling. One thing we definitely develop as we progress is a great sense of humility.

It has come to my attention that some comments sent here were never seen by me. I apologize if this was ever the case for you. Anyway, we are changing our system of keeping up with comments, with both Kay and I checking for them. And if by any chance you write and don't see your comment within a day or two, please let us know.

What are really helpful are questions. This way all readers get an answer to their own version of the same question. Also, if the exchange is particularly clear, it will probably end up in some future lesson. I get lots of lesson material simply by responding to your questions here. So realize your opportunity to make a great contribution that will be helpful not only for yourself, but for many others as well.

D. R. Butler said...

Renuka said... This thing about all levels and times of existence happening simultaneously: when I tap into a past life experience, how do I know that it is not a future life experience? Is it a matter of historical references and cultural change; is it a matter of how evolved I am, with the more consciously-lived lives happening later; is it something I just "know"? (I am sure there are other options.) Presumably, the more consciously we live our lives, the more we can participate in our own development through successive lives. Do you think we eventually get to the stage where we can pull ourselves into the perfectly present consciousness, like landing a fish? Or, is development just an illusion? What fun!

D. R. Butler said...Renuka, interesting question. As far as whether it is a 'past' life or 'future' life, it doesn't matter in the least. Time belongs to the physical plane only. Leave this realm and everything exists Now, not 'before' or 'later.' It is true that the more consciously we live our lives, the more we can participate in our own inner development; this applies to right NOW, not some later time we are 'leading up to.'

'Who' is it that can 'pull ourselves into the perfectly present consciousness?' Is there something separate from us that can 'pull' us? Or is it something within us that can 'pull' something separate from us?

We can reach the stage where we can live in the consciousness of the present moment simply by deciding to do so. Nothing prevents us from living in the present moment except the play of the mind and all its creations. A great being said, "The mind should not wander outside the present moment; rather it should stop within the boundaries of the moment and become completely still there."

This is the simplest way to grasp the highest teaching.

D. R. Butler said...

Narayana said...Ok, I have a question. Thinking is our power right. We all got the power. I have known this for a long time now, yet even with my Best efforts, I still find it difficult to manifest more desirable conditions. I truly practice positive thinking and feel LOVE and even JOY in my life, and share it with others. Yet, when it comes to manifesting more up graded, conditions (work, living, or abundance), even visualization seems not to do the trick. What am I missing, even though I think I do it good, the method. I FEEL stumped, can you unstuck me Sir.

D. R. Butler said...Narayana, it seems that you live and believe in the conditions of life that you wish you could escape from, and it is your belief in their reality that prevents you from moving on to something new. I've known you pretty well for a long time. I know you think beautiful and uplifting thoughts, and you enjoy a superb sense of humor, which is fun for everyone who has contact with you.

Still, you believe in the very conditions and situations that you wish you could be free from. You have to create how you actually want it to change, and then believe in the change more than you do the apparent present reality that has bothered you all these years. When you actually BELIEVE in another reality, things will change, I promise.

D. R. Butler said...

Here are more questions received here. Responses will be forthcoming.

Avivit said...In this article you say: "Descriptions and the assignment of meanings are what initially confuses the mind and projects a painted reality that manifests from its own conditioning."

I have been asking myself for years if it would be beneficial for parents of a newborn to avoid description and naming...let alone giving everything a meaning. It could mean that there would also be lots of silence and hopefully presence, since there would not be much to talk about....but mostly having one's own experience. What is your understanding of this D.R.

Breathworks said: For a great many years I have been quietly contemplating something, and I wonder what would emerge from the Stream of Intelligence that authors the Course here about the matter -- what is the Unique Self/Selves that seem to exist within Infinite Omnipresence? It feels quite true at a deeper level than thought that there is a discreet self that operates as Attention/Awareness, and doesn't seem to become reduced or diminished as prior conditioning is seen-through and released. Is it only some form of unresolved conditioning that gives an appearance of a Unique Self, or is there indeed a Unique Self/Selves with or without conditioning?

Menaki said... Copy & pasted from both your comment & my journal today: “you believe in the very conditions and situations that you wish you could be free from. You have to create how you actually want it to change, and then believe in the change more than you do the apparent present reality that has bothered you all these years. When you actually BELIEVE in another reality, things will change, I promise”. ~ D. R. Butler

What don’t I want? SCA 6, to be a burden on ANYONE, a negative state of mind energy, tenseness or tension, absence of compassion, contentment, calm, love. Only the SCA 6 of this body remains here and now. I can do it! Live with it, cope with it, handle it, and remain spiritually unaffected by it, only can it affect me in a beneficial way. I offer this to ALL. _/\_ Perhaps this is what un-burdens me and others, and the ALL. Perhaps this is the puzzle and ‘Ultimate Freeing circumstance gift of the Supreme Mystery’ for me. “When you actually BELIEVE in another reality, things will change. I promise”. OK. Got it!  it was fun!

Kay Butler said...

Menaki...apparently your original comment included some symbols, emoticons, etc., that didn't translate into text.(SCA6, etc.). Maybe you can tell us what the SCA 6 was meant to be? Everything should be okay now, as we've worked out the problems on this end. Love to everyone who reads this...Kay

FB said...

SCA 6 is 'spinocerebellar ataxia type 6'. A 'progressive neurodegenerative genetic (DNA) disease'; the cerebellum degenerates, a movement and balance disorder, vision, speech, strength, memory, all coordination affected. Great that logic and reason remain! As well as ability to understand, choose, and apply the Course, love, intuition, and stuff!
Perfect karmically. Prevents distractions to what I really need (to value) (and work through, understand and learn). Thank you!

Tom Mac said...

Hi Ram!
Is it a 'good idea' to desire change in the objective, outer, physical world?
OR is it 'best' to simply embrace what comes unsought- and perceive it in the highest light?

It appears as if there is a tremendous preoccupation in our society with a focus on the first. It sort of matches up with the focus on 'doing', with very little focus on 'being' (I speak from experience in each of these, LOL). Perhaps I am just getting old... a different stage of life.

Thanks for the new Blog! And the latest Lesson, wow - feels like I have been waiting for it all my life!
Tom Mac

Deb Antari, Singer/Songwriter said...

I hear this as almost having the mind of a 3 or 4 year old. Lol. I used to do dances and performances on top of our rabbit hutch ( rabbits not present but the hutches remained.). It has taken many years ( like 58!!! To manifest the result I lived as that 4 year old) I am singing and dancing in a club in NYC. Not getting paid for it-oh, would that that happen some day-but funny that it seems that 4 year old vision has come to fruition!! I'd really like to shorten the gap between visualizing gettin paid for my music, but I think some kind of fear prevents me from making $$ from my music, despite how much I'd love too maybe I should just let that part go and enjoy the joy? Can/should I imagine/visualize/ expect/see myself making $$$ at what I love?

D. R. Butler said...

It looks like we are all caught up and operating regularly again. Tonight I will try to catch up a bit with the questions that have come in since I last posted.

Avivit asked whether parents should hold back on 'describing' everything to their children, and to let them discover the world on their own terms. This truly requires a delicate balance. To a certain degree, parents must prepare their children for the world. Yet I think there's something to curtailing the descriptions a bit. Otherwise a person can have wrong understanding about something for years, before finally learning that his parents were wrong.

I love the example given in a story by J. D. Salinger, Teddy, originally published in a book called 9 Stories. The most enjoyable of the stories is 'Teddy,' which is about a 10-year-old enlightened kid. A man was interviewing him, and it had a lot to do with what you are asking. The man asked, 'Would you tell a child what an elephant is?' Teddy replied that, no, he wouldn't describe to them what an elephant is. Instead they would 'show' them an elephant and let them draw their own conclusions. Hopefully they could get close enough to touch the elephant, so that all 5 senses are engaged. Then they know what an elephant is, without having programmed descriptions that try to explain to their mind what an elephant is.

D. R. Butler said...

Breathworks, there is a unique Self that operates as Awareness/Attention. It plays a game of imagining Itself to be all these various individuals, for Its own amusement and delight. The Reality of it never changes, although the forms it appears in are constantly changing.

For example, there is the same amount of water in the world today as there was in the beginning. It only changes forms--is evaporated out of the ocean, then deposited by rain into a stream which runs into a river that eventually returns it to the ocean, where it began. The cycle continues endlessly.

It is the same way regarding the Self, or pure Consciousness, or the Awareness of Being. It is eternally changeless, perfect, and pure; yet it manifests as a multitude of forms that are continuously changing.

D. R. Butler said...

Tom Mac, your questions have gotten better and better over the years. I am truly pleased with your transformation. You truly do the sadhana of the Course.

I think, all and all, that the best course of action is 'to simply embrace what comes unsought- and perceive it in the highest light?'

You asked, 'Is it a 'good idea' to desire change in the objective, outer, physical world?'

Only if you have previously created or attracted conditions of lack, loss, illness, negative emotions, a general unhappiness--all of which is the result of negative or limited thinking. The primary reason the Course includes the process of Creation, to create or attract more desirable conditions and experiences, is because we already use that power anyway, only we unknowingly use it negatively, to make us feel even worse and to make life seem even harder.

This is why I say, if the conditions of your life as it is are painful or at least unsatisfying, you can create more pleasant conditions simply through training your creative mind to think only what you choose--which will be what is best for yourself and for everyone around you as well.

D. R. Butler said...

Deb Antari, that is a very complex question, and my answer is so long that I will have to post it in two parts. If you perform for free, obviously you simply enjoy what you do, which is great. Do what you love and do it the best that you can.

As you might have read in a lesson of the Course, the soul of money is service. The first step has been accomplished--doing what you most love to do. Now the next, and primary step, is to make sure that others enjoy it as much as you do. Then it becomes a service--you are supplying them with what they want.

For example, the Course would not exist without any participants. When someone has the good fortune to hear about the Course and writes to us for information, we send them that information and a complimentary first lesson, so that they can get a real feel of what might be available to them through participating in the Course.

If they find that Lesson 1 inexplicably feels good to read--'stimulating inexplicable jolts of euphoria,' as one early student put it--then they might write back and say they definitely feel pulled to begin the Course just to see what happens as a result, or if they are brave and committed, they might sign up for the first year, which is more than enough time for obvious transformation for the better.

Then they write, or tell others, it is the best deal available, because the process of the Course is worth far more than the minimum contribution we suggest. We deliberately keep the 'price' low so that anyone who can afford to go out and buy a pizza can afford to participate in the Course. Many participants soon begin contributing more than the minimum suggested donation, because they realize and experience that it is worth much more, and which also enables us to keep the suggested donation low, so that the lessons are available to everyone.

As you know, some people are taking the Course since 1975, when it began. This current version of the Course started in 2008, but for those who had taken the Course for 30 years or more, the beginning of a new Course was simply their 'next lesson.' It is an ongoing process, not a sprint, otherwise we could simply present the material in a book, which people might read and then set aside to read their next book. The lessons of the Course keep you consciously involved in the process of your own transformation.

(Continued in Part 2)

D. R. Butler said...

Part 2:

So the primary point for you in all this is that people send money to participate in the Course because they WANT to read further, for greater development. In the same way, if you wish to make money for your music, you have to create music that others will WANT to hear, preferably over and over. Music that touches their soul. (Of course, first it must touch YOUR soul.)

As you know, we offer a lot for free. The articles of this site (formerly know as 'the blog') are offered for free, as well as the answers to questions in the comments, such as this. You don't have to pay a dime for this response to your question, yet you get a full response because you are an active participant of the Course, and ultimately all that is here is part of your Course.

We offer two Facebook pages--a 'personal' page and a 'fan page'--where there is an ongoing dialogue and continuous interaction, and it is all for free and open to the public--anyone can tune in simply by going there. Making offerings for free, as you are currently doing with your music, allows people to glimpse what might be possible through participation in the Course--which is where the greatest transformation happens.

Now you must reach the point where people want to hear your music, and they'll even pay to hear it, because it makes them feel good to hear it, and they want more. However, you must be content simply to write and play your own songs whether anyone ever pays you to hear them or not. When you are primarily playing for yourself, others will be attracted to what you are enjoying.

Like I said, it is a very complex question. You cannot simply expect other people to pay you for what you do, as though entitled somehow. You have to make it good enough and unique enough that others can hardly wait for your next song.

D. R. Butler said...

As far as I can tell, I am caught up with all the questions submitted here.

If you posted a question that has not appeared or been addressed, please write to let me know.

I thank all of you for your questions. It creates an interaction that everyone can benefit from. So always feel free to ask your questions, even if it is a question that you could answer yourself if someone were to ask it to you. It is simply a way of deepening and refining your own understanding, and everyone here can benefit from it.

Deb Antari, Singer/Songwriter said...

Love it!!! Thanks, Ram. That all
Makes so much sense. I truly appreciate you, the course and your answer. And I love my music and it brings me great joy to create and perform for it for others. I will strive to see it as service, whatever foes or does not come back from it monetarily. :-)

Jaime de Diego said...

I feel like I am walking on eggs nowadays about asking you ANY question, my teacher!: some doubts seem at the outset relevant, perhaps because they sound entertaining to the very serious mind; but, when examined honestly, they reveal themselves to be so puerile -almost disrespectful to what you are trying to cause us to see, indeed a deviation from the whole purpose of the Course. However, then there is the element of your remarkable kindness when dealing with all that childishness extant in my very having questions (a kindness that myself, not being quite quiet yet, alas!, I lack). I am closer to throwing stones at my infantile self as it is said of some of those crazed guys in India to have done to their bothers and even others. Also, you bet!, there is the fact that all of this, the entirety of life is.. a mere play?

Shaolin Santiago said...

Hi dr butler can you explain this in depth. Please. Thank u.

Brent Flickinger said...

For Deb Antari: Fortunately I have a job doing something I love and my songwriting/recording is like a hobby. When I "retire" I plan to focus more on the music. When I recorded my first album, I made 1000 copies and just knew the world would love it and want it. I did marketing and ran into obstacles and got little response, though I was happy when someone commented that s/he found it meaningful.

When my second album, "Crossing Over: Reflections on Living and Dying," was complete last summer, I decided to put it on a free site, Band Camp. Someone can pay to download it, but I decided that I wanted to offer it for free. I haven't received any payment, but I feel good knowing this music is out there and that some folks might enjoy it and benefit from listening. It's been freeing to see this music as something that has come through me somehow and that I have worked with others to turn the ideas and songs into something I consider moving and beautiful. I love to listen to the songs periodically. Such joy in creating and making it available for anyone and everyone!

Michael Vetrano said...

What is the relationship between karma and ego? Is one the cause and the other the effect?

Kay Butler said...

Hi Shaolin...I'm afraid you'll have to be more specific. What would you like to have explained in more depth? With love, Kay

Helen said...

I was in a meeting last weekend in which we were told of the 7,000 year old scripture, the Rig Veda, which tells us what the main support of man is. We were asked what we thought and we answered with things like love, meditation, grace,and the teachings of the masters. The answer from the Rig Veda is gratitude. Gratitude is the main support of man.

I was really struck by this. It made me think of your suggestion Ram to take time to thank the One at sunset every day so with everyone we can create a fragrant garland of gratitude around the world. If we feel thankful for what we have, experience, and encounter, It keeps a positive focus and we can keep afloat in joy. I have also heard that gratitude draws grace. I guess grace exists in the feeling of gratitude itself.

Thank you all for your sharing and support. It is a blessing to be a part of this community.

D. R. Butler said...

Gratitude does indeed draw grace. It also attracts even more of what we are thankful for.

Of course, if instead we complain, it attracts more of what we complain about.

D. R. Butler said...

Shaolin, the best answer I can give is to refer to your current lesson daily.

If you have no current lesson, there is no way we can help.

J in the UK said...

Depression is severely curtailing my ability to do sadhana effectively (caused by long term isolation due to progressive physical disability, chronic constant pain, lack of sleep, having to give up all the things I loved and found uplifting, and other stresses and sadness I won't go into here), but the depression is preventing me from being able to feel the feelings which might change some of the causes of the depression.

Regarding the creative process, can long-term physical conditions be changed, or are they part of the body's karma, to become in harmony with?

It seems that depression is the one thing that you cannot be in harmony with, as it cuts off access to feelings of harmony and the thoughts which enable feelings of harmony.

I want to learn to meditate. So far I have only found CD's with intrusive music or the instructions out of sinc with the breathing. Presumably my current state is repelling the good ones! Can you recommend a meditation CD, or a suitable meditation method?

The Course is a life-saver. I am into year 5 now but had not done any spiritual work before, so it was all very new. I know I want to do the Course for the rest of my life - so stay well and keep writing, dear Ram! I feel I should be able to pull myself out of depression but there are just too many stresses all at once and I need some help. Any ideas are welcome.

With love and gratitude. J in the UK

James Donohue said...

How can I become more clear about the direction my life needs to go? Then how can I keep the ball rolling in that direction. Often I find myself making an intention like studying something. Then I let it go. Sometimes I pick it up again. Like a seesaw. Ironically I have been studying the lessons for years. I really like them. Applying 'what I think is what I get' is difficult for me.

Deb Antari, Singer/Songwriter said...

Hey, Brent- so sweet!! I love what you said! I have 3 albums out there and have made a whopping $56. From the thousands I have put in recording them but..... Every once in a while someone tells me how a song I wrote spoke to them. And that is enough!!!! Right now I'm fortunate enough to support the music I love making with my work as a psychotherapist and sometimes can incorporate music into my work. So I guess we are both walking ( or perhaps singing) the talk.

D. R. Butler said...

J in the UK, the best meditation I experience is reading my current lesson. If you read through your whole current lesson, you will have experienced a great meditation.

Other than that, you can sit in a comfortable position, spine straight to allow the passage of energy, and focus on your body being filled with light--or even envision a body of light that animates and carries around this temporary physical body.

I have no confidence whatsoever in meditation CD's or anything of the sort.

Regarding your depression, it is very important to actually APPLY the principles of the lessons, and not merely agree with them. That is, think only what makes you feel good, and refuse to even consider anything that makes you feel bad. It is such a simple solution to all problems, but only a handful actually do this on a consistent basis. It does require will power until it is passed on to the subconscious mind, and then it will happen automatically, without having to think about it.

If you are this depressed, I also recommend taking an antidepressant for a while. This balances the unbalanced chemicals (or energies) in the brain. As far as I know, the one with the least amount of side effects is Lexapro, but I am not sure what is available in the UK.

Feel better soon.

D. R. Butler said...

James Donohue, you said, 'Applying 'what I think is what I get' is difficult for me.' I respectfully disagree. You get right now what you think of have been thinking over time. The principle is infallible. So you are getting what you think, but if you are not happy with it, then you need to change your habitual thoughts and think only what makes you happy. Refuse to even consider anything that makes you happy.

As far as what direction you should go in your life, you are already going. The mind can't figure out which direction to go. Your karma will happen no matter what you think. Then the only thing we can do is to remain in harmony with our karma. If you are not in harmony with something, then look within and discover within yourself what you need to change in order to be in harmony with it. Our life has its own direction, and we are already on the path. All we need to do is to maintain a harmonious state regarding anything that comes up.

HariLarry S. said...

I asked this question once before but it didn't come out right and then was apparently not seen when it was repeated. I have a quote on my monitor which says:

"The main block to transformation is the thought that we shouldn't be where we are, that we should already be further along in our growth than we perceive ourselves to be."

I have always find this a good and gentle reminder but sometimes I wonder what it means I find myself temporarily in a negative space. There is not a lot in the Course about accepting the negativity which arises naturally in the course of some situations. Perhaps the word "negativity" is a misnomer but it is not always possible, in my experience, to "will" the opposite or positive train of thought when the chain of events seems to need to play itself out. I feel it is better at such times to accept it as passing internal "weather" and to ride out the storm, knowing it will pass, rather than to consciously try to use willpower. Still, and again, there is the apparent paradox or tug of war between the attitude of "go with the flow" and "create and choose" what is more desirable.

Experience shows me that transcending the level at which the painful thought is considered an obstacle is a better and more genuine--and effective--way "out" of the pain than has been my efforts to deliberately change the thinking directly when the "weather pattern" doesn't feel ready to pass. It's cyclical but there is still an element of wanting to "be further along" than I perceive myself capable of (so far) when willpower doesn't seem to make enough difference. Meditation does help with this, but meditation can also show me where I am still getting stuck at any given time. I don't know if there's an "answer" to this, but comments and feedback are welcome.

D. R. Butler said...

HariLarry says, 'Experience shows me that transcending the level at which the painful thought is considered an obstacle is a better and more genuine--and effective--way "out" of the pain than has been my efforts to deliberately change the thinking directly when the "weather pattern" doesn't feel ready to pass. It's cyclical but there is still an element of wanting to "be further along" than I perceive myself capable of (so far) when willpower doesn't seem to make enough difference.'

The obvious principle here is that if we allow unpleasant emotions to pervade and permeate our Being, we have no choice other than to 'prove our Worth,' to each other, prove that we are capable and that we belong. Not having someone or something in the relationship can make it more difficult to recognize it or to acknowledge this as a Truth.

We tend to be to others exactly as they perceive us to be, of because of all the feedback regarding how they were taught to simultaneously see and judge us, themselves, and all that is around them. After recognizing the Truth of our own Being, we see that it fills every moment, and there's nothing to be done except what we are 'inclined' to do.

This very moment our past is passing, our karma (the results of all our predominant thoughts leading up to Now) is happening exactly as we intended it, as we 'saw' it in our thoughts and beliefs; what we inwardly see now contains the seeds that have been planted inside us some time in our life. Now you have the power to project your own state, your own feelings and beliefs, as the 'reality' perceived from birth as we are subtly and not so subtly brainwashed.

Never feel that you are being taken advantage of, simply because of the purity of the Principles of Truth. If you are truly realized, the Principles of Truth will become your link to what we have all tuned more and more into--the Highest Principle, because of its solidity, and because nothing can change it or alter in any way, and you have no doubt about it whatsoever.

JB said...

Hi DR,
Here's a question about dharma, right action. I am aware of a co-worker that spends a significant portion of his days on the internet for what seems personal matters. I have the possibility of raising a flag about it without him knowing about it. Since this could have devastating effects on him keeping his job and on his family, I am unsure about raising the issue; I am afraid of what that could generate for him as well as for myself for creating havoc in his life. In such a situation, should I just let it go and trust that life will eventually bring him his 'reward' or should I act on this ? In other words, when we witness adharmic behavior that does not affect us directly, should we step forward and do something about it, or should we just let it go ?

Kay Butler said...

After a loved one had written to share about some of the physical woes that had recently been besetting her, she wrote again: “Today I read my lesson again, and it is resonating deeply answering my Questions sent yesterday. The experience of the attempted retreat from my physical karma has made me more receptive to the teachings. Was that a meltdown or an honest exhortation?”

I responded: “Maybe both :) This body karma we all have is getting more and more pronounced as we get older, eh? It seems to want to take over all the thoughts and feelings day by day, and I think that during these later years it's our dharma to accept the karma, keep thinking more and more positively, be in harmony with what is, etc., yet always know that the best is yet to come, etc. All the principles we've been learning all these years are so important now that the bodies are getting to ‘the point of no return.’ If we could ‘think’ our way into a young body, would we? Or would we focus on being in the very best state we can attain in this moment? A good question, since we can think only one thing at a time. I choose to focus on the state and on choosing the next thought, and I trust that everything will keep getting better and better (at least on the inside, which is all that really counts).”

Then I asked whether it was okay to post this question as a comment to this thread, and her response was: “Yes, If it will help to help us reach the opposite shore in a leaking boat share it with all Use the name Mary.”

Thanks Mary, for being willing to put it out here where everyone can ponder those points. And so that we might hear also what Ram might have to say to it. Anyone have anything to respond to “If we could ‘think’ our way into a young body, would we?”

Kay Butler said...

And ‘correspondingly’, this from Kabir in my current lesson:

To what shore would you cross, O my heart?
There is no traveler before you, there is no road.
Where is the movement, where is the rest, on that shore?
There is no water; no boat, no boatman, is there.
There is not so much as a rope to tow the boat,
Nor a man to draw it.
No Earth, no sky, no time, no thing, is there.
No shore, no ford!
There, there is neither body nor mind.
And where is the place that shall still the thirst of the soul?
You shall find naught in that emptiness.
Be strong and enter your own body, for your foothold is firm.
Consider it well, O my heart!
Go not elsewhere.
Kabir says: “Put all imaginations away,
And stand fast in that which you are.” ~Kabir

Kay Butler said...

And just a little editing from Ram's March 8 response to James, where Ram wrote:

"So you are getting what you think, but if you are not happy with it, then you need to change your habitual thoughts and think only what makes you happy. Refuse to even consider anything that makes you happy."

I think we can assume that Ram meant to write "unhappy" at the end, but just in case there is someone here reading this who has never visited here before, I'll say that the teaching is "Refuse to even consider anything that makes you unhappy."

D. R. Butler said...

Yes, these typos are very hard to correct on this page.

Yet I bet everyone understood what I meant.

rico said...

JB, regarding your workplace dilemma; are you this co-worker's supervisor? Is your co-worker performing his assigned tasks? Is it possible that co-worker has done their work and what you observe is your associate killing time?
It sounds like you reporting his behavior, assuming you aren't his supervisor, would be more "adharmic" than letting it slide given the impact it would have on this person's family. If this person isn't doing their job then it will likely come to light at some point and then the ramifications would fall where they should.
There are times when intervening in a situation that is obviously causing harm is the dharmic thing to do. At those times one's motivation to act is usually unmistakable. Acting every time someone bent the rules would be exhausting.

Menaki said...

On Volume 3, Lesson 4, yet, unexpectedly found myself deeply enmeshed in a reaction, anger, self-righteous blame of another...and (fortunately) feeling "uh oh, actually it's my ego." Its grip was tenacious though, trying its utmost to prevail! Ha, ha. Finally, 5-6 hours of stewing, unable to find peace or rest, went to the file cabinet, feeling "whatever lesson I pull out will be the one I need." Sure enough! Vol 1, Lesson 9 perfectly explains what is really going on and what to do about it! Tears of gratitude pop up. Images of the boulder of ego being pulverized, Baba smiling. I'm smiling! Hope this makes you guys smile! Love with deep, deep gratitude, Menaki PS: Compassion, understanding, and forgiveness, (of myself and others), as result, has deepened.

Tom Mac said...

Dear Ram:
In your writings you often refer to 'the Heart'... return to the Heart, come back to the Heart...
Can you elaborate on what you mean by 'the Heart'?
Specifically, this would be particularly clarifying for me when I visualize.
Thank you!
Tom Mac

Martin said...

Ram ... I find myself triggered by, shall we say, less than compassionate response to acts of terrorism in Europe (Brussels today) - what does the Course inform us about an appropriate response to atrocities, genocide in Syria, random acts of terrorism... Can this really be an external manifestation of my internal consciousness or thinking? Appreciate some guidance here - Martin

JB said...

Thanks Rico for sharing your insights about my situation - they make sense.

Narayana said...

Are there any mistakes in the actions we take? If I feel right about an action and follow through with it, then look back and second guess it, is that proof of it being a mistake? If this feeling comes up of wondering if I did the right thing or not even though in the moment it felt necessary or right at the time I did it, does this feeling mean it was a foolish action? Sometimes I feel right ànd need to say or do something, it can feel like the right thing to do in that moment yet because it might be so immediate when done, I can wonder if it really was worth it.

Ananda said...

Recently Kay included in her comment a poem from Kabir. My current lesson also has a poem from Kabir. Ram provided the poem as a prompt for contemplation. The following is a verse from that poem:

What is seen is not the Truth
What is cannot be said
Trust comes not without seeing
Nor understanding without words
The wise comprehend with knowledge
To the ignorant it is but a Wonder

The third line has me confused. "Trust comes not without seeing." What are your thoughts on this line of the poem?


Jane said...

Dear Kay - I have been pondering the question you posed above: “If we could ‘think’ our way into a young body, would we?” I am a little younger than you and Ram but nonetheless old enough to have asked myself this question.

As I'm writing, part of me is giggling and asking myself: why are you identifying with the body's aging process, you were never young, never old and never die. Perhaps that's where I've arrived at when I maintain the perspective of the Self instead of 'jane' who identifies with the body. So.. to the extent the body's aging is facilitating identification with the Self, I am enjoying it and find it liberating.

The one thing that I find frustrating is that over the past several years, my energy has been lagging dramatically and I'm not sure that it has a lot to do with the body's aging process. I am still in the throes of trying to address this issue but to date, after availing myself of many varied resources, have found no solutions or identifiable reason why this is the case. I vacillate between acceptance and feeling that I must be doing something 'wrong'. At the same time, I sometimes feel that everything is unfolding perfectly and that the Course has transported me to a different perspective on life in which the temporary sources of identification are being dismantled and therefore have much less significance.

Despite the concerns of the ego, I deeply trust that if I continue to practice the principles and the exercises in the lessons, my perspective will continue to expand beyond any of its current limitations.

Thanks to you and Mary for raising this issue and
as always - much love and gratitude to you, Ram, and everyOne.

Kay Butler said...

Hi wrote "The one thing that I find frustrating is that over the past several years, my energy has been lagging dramatically and I'm not sure that it has a lot to do with the body's aging process." I'm going to assume that you have consulted your medical professionals on this issue, and if not then please do.

Having said that, it's true that we slow down as time goes by. I have had so many inner and outer 'commands' to slow down since the age of 50 or so; and yet I'm still learning more about what that means. When I didn't take it seriously, I felt exhausted all the time. As I slow down more, relax more, loaf more, take more time off, I seem to accomplish more. Can't explain that one, but it's true.

If you've been a 'doer' all your life, as I have, I believe it's an important part of the "aging process" to have this ongoing contemplation of what it means to slow down, and I strongly urge you to try it on for size if it seems that it might fit. And sleep more if you need to, because that's often the simple answer...the body might need more rest these days in order to recover fully from the day's routine. The planet is under great stresses at this time, and that means that all living things are undergoing great stress, so take it easy. Love and easefulness to everyone, Kay

Jane said...

Thank you so much, Kay, for your suggestion to contemplate what it means to 'slow down.'Just reading what you shared drew me inside to a deeper understanding which I'm sure will continue to unfold.
Many thanks!!

FB said...

Responding to what Jane and Kay have written: Physical karma of aging and a chronic illness create other 'problems' for me, for everyone. Having tried numerous measures unsuccessfully, rather than be and feel defeated it came to me to more earnestly apply the Course teachings. Lo and behold, applying "I can do it" with acceptance of what is, cheerfulness and humor, along with some lifestyle measures, lead to successful management of what I cannot control! That being said, and what you two write, it comes to me that it is most fulfilling, gratifying, beneficial, and fun to accept what is, apply self-confidence, necessary lifestyle changes, and this results in JOY, enjoyment and empowerment that permeates all of life and relationship, inward and outward. I wouldn't trade it, nothing compares! Grateful, thank you for sharing!

ivywhitstockbryan said...

Hi DR and Kay,
I don't know why but I have been noticing more compulsive behavior in myself. Maybe its always been there and I'm only noticing it now. I participate in the course reading each lesson at least 3 times and applying the principles the best I can. Perhaps its the ego and a form of resistance. Some examples are the compulsion to overeat, drink coffee and procrastinate. Its like slowing down too much. Any insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks. Love, Ivy

kirsty said...

Dear Ram,

Last November, I injured my back and, compensating for the pain has, created some more pain in shoulders etc. Do physical problems change, break-up or in any way affect the spinal energy flow?

Life has seemed so different since this accident. Any suggestions for adapting to old age after a very active energetic life? I get anxious about being here for my even older husband, though I would just as soon shuffle off.

Now I am laughing...for I just looked up and read what FB has written....then Jane and Kay. Guess the aging crowd has similar questions.

I'll send this anyway so that you can see how these comments work. Still laughing, Kirsty

Kay Butler said...

Hello Dear Ones...It's Saturday afternoon...for those of you who have yet to hear, Ram is still in the ICU recovering from what the doctors are calling a "small" heart attack on April 4. They are keeping him under sedation most of the time and you will find updates on his condition on his D.R. Butler (Ram) Facebook page daily. Ram and I send you all the best. Thank you for your prayers of affirmation and your loving thoughts. Love, Kay

Kay Butler said...

Hello everybody...Ram has requested that I ask Rico to respond to any unanswered comments/questions here until he's back on the computer again. So we're looking forward to hearing what you have to say in response to the above questions Rico. I'll keep posting anything that comes in here.

Ram's condition remains stable and he's still in ICU but gaining every day. Please check his Facebook page for updates as I have them. Thank you for your blessings and love. Love to all, Kay

rico said...

Narayana, there really are no mistakes but that's not a license to act in a way that we know would harm another. If we do what we feel is best in any moment then we can always learn from the outcome. If the results are beneficial then we learn to trust that instinct. If the results aren't so great then it's an opportunity to remember the motivations that led to that action and learn to avoid that path the next time. But after all is said and done, we just do the best we can.

rico said...

Kirsty, if you asking about Qi or Ki perhaps your energy flow question would be better put to an acupuncturist or a Reiki practitioner. As far as adapting to old age goes, I don't have a lot of experience (yet) but I suspect cultivating the Witness perspective goes a long way towards adjusting to the times the old "space suit" doesn't function like it used to. Watching those thoughts that worry (or wish things were different) fade away is a lot more fun than inviting them in for tea and cookies. We're conditioned from a very early age that our value lies in what we do or accomplish. Once we begin to get free of that conditioning we can see that being is far more valuable than doing.

rico said...

ivywhitstockbryan, noticing is a good thing. It's the first step to getting free of behavior that doesn't serve us. If you pay close attention you'll probably notice that compulsive behavior is preceded by certain thoughts that lead to that behavior. The key to changing that behavior is to nip those thoughts in the bud. When you get right down to it that's all self discipline/control is, the ability to resist the siren call of familiar thoughts that lead to familiar actions and inevitable results.
Developing the ability to first notice then stifle those thoughts that don't serve us is something that increases with practice. Like working out in a gym, working out our will and attention muscles make us stronger. But it takes time so don't be too hard on yourself and don't sweat that cup of joe.

rico said...

I think I've answered the open questions. If I missed any please post again. Join me in wishing Ram a speedy recovery and return to the blogosphere!

Tom Mac said...

Hi Rico!
I posted this question earlier. I have contemplated it and observed my experiences. This was especially strong after Ram's HEART event, which affected my heart strongly... I even went to the Hospital to have it checked, LOL! More and more,it feels like the place in my chest is where I am. My question remains though, as I am not clear Ram's writing refers to the same 'place'. Thanks!

"In your writings you often refer to 'the Heart'... return to the Heart, come back to the Heart...
Can you elaborate on what you mean by 'the Heart'?
Specifically, this would be particularly clarifying for me when I visualize.
Thank you!
Tom Mac"

rico said...

Hey Tom,
Well, the Heart Ram talks about isn't that muscular organ that's beating in your chest. It's more the center of our Being. That place in us where Love dwells and Awareness arises. In a very real sense it's also the center of our Universe. It's a place so vast and deep that the mind runs and hides at the prospect of comprehending it. So trying to understand it with the mind is an exercise in futility.

What we come back to is that place in us where there is no separation. Isn't that what love is, the experience of no separation. Only the mind creates separation. That's the heart of the matter.

As I'm sure you've heard before, a Great One once said,
"The Heart is the hub of all sacred places, go there and roam"

There is no better "place" to explore!

Kay Butler said...

A question came in from Eddie, an old friend of the Course. He wrote: "​When Ram speaks of our keenly felt negative emotions is he talking about the emotions themselves or the sparks of those emotions, for instance a politcal view or a cultural behavior? How do we separate those? Would this have to do with thoughts and objects? Is it that those sparks are the emotions?"

My response: The way that Ram usually talks about emotions is that our feelings are the result of our thinking--either sparked by our present thoughts, or dredged up by the samskaras, which are the subconscious patterns created by our past thoughts and feelings.

Our political views and cultural behaviors could be considered samskaras, since they arise out of the subconscious, learned, inherited, and conditioned patterns of thought and behavior.

Nothing is happening "for the first time," as our conditioning is likely to be the result of eons of impressions, and now the work is to choose each thought in the present so that it represents our highest understanding now. The 'future' will be the result of our present thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; so our job is to CHOOSE what to think next, about anything. And to REFUSE to think anything other than that which we would choose to experience in the future.

If Rico, or anyone who reads this, has anything to add to my response to Eddie, please do. We'd all love to see it. And please check out Ram's Facebook page, where he has posted for the first time after leaving the hospital and moving to a physical therapy rehab. Lots of love, Kay

rico said...

Interesting topic, emotions, and one that's multifaceted. It seems that emotions can rise as the result of a reaction to something that happens. An emotion can also arise as the result of some internal dialogue we may be entertaining which may or may not be the result of some apparently external occurrence. The genesis of both these emotional experiences, as Kay mentions, comes from triggering a samskara. There's another way emotions can enter our experience and that's out of the blue. Have you ever been just sitting contentedly or just cruising along enjoying the moment when out of the blue some emotion arises unattached to any corresponding thought? Here too I suspect some latent impression is the culprit.
Whatever the apparent cause we have a choice. We can get drawn in and extend and empower the emotion by fueling it with our thoughts. We can try to figure it out, blame something or someone, defend our opinion or we can watch and ride the emotional wave as it rises then inevitably dissipates. Thinking about it, trying to figure it out or getting drawn into whatever triggers it only prolongs the ride. Learning to ride the wave and not get caught up in the wash, takes practice and persistence.

Jim said...

Awhile back, I read a Q and A with a meditation guru where he described the subtle structure of the heart as a multi-petaled flower. He went on to explain that when Consciousness (life force) concentrates on a particular petal, a corresponding emotion is experienced, explaining why we can experience feelings out of the blue.

Anyway, interesting dialogue on the heart, emotions and samskaras. From my viewpoint this morning, they are all very relevant and interconnected. Earlier, I saw something very beautiful and my heart softened. I'd call the feeling tenderness. This was quickly followed by a hardening feeling, a burst of anger. The shift was a bit confusing and bewildering, but I just weathered it, normalized it. Some thought into my personal history did lend some explanation. It seems to be a samskara in action, a defense mechanism that has formed around the act of opening up and feeling love. I would ID it as some core shit that I should probably deal with sooner than later.

It would be great to hear any thoughts about this from Rico, Kay or other folks that visit the blog. In yoga or spiritual circles, I don't hear anyone else experiencing this particular samskara, though I've been around long enough to know I can't possibly be unique.

dijaw said...

I prefer to be a lighthearted and loving human being....not take myself so seriously. But at times, I experience so many thoughts and emotions, both negative and positive, ricocheting within my "head" that I profoundly feel the need to don a helmet and duck! Implementing willpower, I attempt to pluck the positive and weed out the negative....but it can be like swatting at mosquitos! And I imagine you would advise me to not "swat", or "weed" or "pluck"....just allow....or replace with something more positive? But then wouldn't I end up with "welts" of repressed emotions?

To clarify, from a western psychological perspective we are encouraged to accept, acknowledge and even embrace our "shadow" side which is in contrast to what we learn in this course. My understanding of these studies, is that negative thoughts and emotions are merely a vibrational alarm for our samskaras and should be dismissed and replaced with something more uplifting. Could that not be a type of denial?

As difficult as it is to face the is a part of who we are....isn't it better for us to accept the love that part of ourselves? And maybe in doing so, freeing ourselves from the samskaras that enslave us? Thank-you, Di

rico said...

I don't recall the Course ever advocating stuffing, replacing or dismissing emotions. Emotions are energetic waves that will express one way or another. What the Course does counsel is to learn to manage the mind's tendency to get involved with the emotions which only prolongs and reinforces them. We replace, dismiss unpleasant thoughts.

While we don't call it shadow work learning to observe rather than suppress or enhance an emotion is an effective method to deal with "shadows" (samskaras). Becoming aware of our samskaras is the first step in getting free of their influence. But embracing them sounds to me like code for hanging on to them. What Western psychology generally lacks is the awareness of the existence of a detached perspective, what we call the Witness. The primary focus of the Course is to cultivate this awareness. As we become more aware of Awareness we develop the ability to stand aside and watch the swirl of emotion do its dance without the mind getting sucked into the maelstrom.

dijaw said...

Thank-you Rico, I am now two years into the Course and find it profoundly powerful and beautiful in its simplicity.....I am very grateful. Di

vickie said...

I haven't visited here much lately but was drawn to do so today and am so glad I did. Many thanks and blessings to you Rico for your stand in performance! your perspectives are full of energy, clear, inspiring and helpful--very fun to read. The reason I was drawn here was to comment on the recent journey we all took with Ram, relative to my current lessons which just completed the section The Greatest Game Ever Invented. In this moment, my heart is embracing the new lesson which is to look at and experience the Inner State in whole new ways--Perfect, right? I do find myself experiencing whole new levels and facets of gratitude and feel compelled to say that beyond being just the greatest game invented..I'd say it is indeed the Greatest Gift Ever Given! This may be "just the physical plane", but where else can we come to learn these things, share these levels, and experience this love? So thanks for sticking around DR--it can be a real pain at times, but even then...what an opportunity, what a gift! thanks and blessings always--

FB said...

For the past few days the subject of being consistent, brought to my attention, and now intention and will via the Course and my latest lesson, Vol. 3, L 46, is in forefront. So grateful I need to share!
I am noticing just where I do and do not apply it. And how important to me, to others interacted with, situations, circumstances, every area of and in my life. How fortunate that all this is revealed and to discover all this!
Attention, intention, will, priorities, taking responsibility, and more, all bring true love and freedom; the Great Wealth.

D. R. Butler said...

Hi everyone,

Those who keep up with my Facebook page know that I have safely returned home and am recuperating, gradually regaining strength and endurance. The first order of business was to begin a new lesson, which will be ready for the next mailing, and I will also begin work on a new blog entry, which hopefully will be ready in a few days. Thanks to all of you for keeping the blog actively going, and to Rico, who did a fine job, as I knew he would, of standing in an answering questions. It's good to be back at work and active with you once again.

breathworks said...

For a great many years I have been quietly contemplating something, and I wonder what would emerge from the Stream of Intelligence that authors the Course here about the matter -- what is the Unique Self/Selves that seem to exist within Infinite Omnipresence? It feels quite true at a deeper level than thought that there is a discreet self that operates as Attention/Awareness, and doesn't seem to become reduced or diminished as prior conditioning is seen-through and released. Is it only some form of unresolved conditioning that gives an appearance of a Unique Self, or is there indeed a Unique Self/Selves with or without conditioning?