Friday, October 10, 2014

Do We Create Our Life Through the Mind’s Link to the Creative Principle, Or Do We Remain Content and Cheerful With What Comes Unsought?

This is one of the most common questions from people who have been on some form of ‘spiritual path’ for a while—long enough to imbibe enough knowledge to become totally confused.  Do we apply what we’ve learned in terms of creating our own personal life through the conscious control of Creative Thought; or do we follow the scriptural recommendation to remain content and cheerful with what comes unsought, whatever it is, whether we think we ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ it?
From the perspective of one who has been exposed to these principles, and at the time of this writing studied and practiced them for 53 years, I can tell you that it is very important to master both approaches. In fact, they are two sides of the same coin.  Everything is relative—remember ‘the theory of relativity’?  Everything must be understood in a certain context.
Depending on the context, we might have to activate will to think in a certain way in order to achieve the preferable conclusion.
Or it might be better to surrender totally and flow with whatever happens, however ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it might momentarily appear to be.
What if a flood or fire or tornado or hurricane were to suddenly take away your home and all your belongings?  More than one participant of the Course has experienced this, and we know that this is now happening all over the world.  People are having their lives wiped out without any warning, and not only losing belongings, but loved ones as well.  Most do not have the knowledge contained in our Course of Training to enable them to put things back together again.
So what would your approach be?  Would you use creative concentration and visualization to create your life to be as you desire it to be?  Or would you simply accept the reality of the current situation and flow with it by seeing the perfection and beauty in it?
Strangely, neither way is the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ approach.  There is this pulse of Creative Energy that resolves the whole world back into Itself, and the same Creative Energy created our world out of nothing from the beginning.  We can align ourselves with this energy either way: we can create the form from the formless, or we can dissolve the form into the formless.
Most ‘spiritual paths’, or other forms of self-development and inner awakening, focus on one way or the other—one way is meditation to enter the formless space of pure Consciousness and experience that formlessness.
Meanwhile the other side of this is the ray of Creation, going outward from the still, silent center.  We create our lives through whatever we think and believe in the moment.  Everything considered, I once again insist that both ways be mastered, even if in the beginning they seem like opposites to you.
The whole thing is the play of Consciousness; or God’s playground, or however you care to see it.  Understand both perspectives, both paths, which contain the flow of the Cosmos.  Ancient yogic texts, written in Sanskrit, refer to this cycle as ‘the in-breath and the out-breath of Brahman.’
This quote by the great Shri Ramana Maharshi, who has never been doubted by any credible source, put it this way:
“Whenever something has to be controlled, some obstacle to be removed or some change necessary, the use of shakti is required.  But in the supreme experience of Atman, meaning stetha prajna (the state of being established in wisdom), or the state that is beyond the gunas (the qualities of the mind), the only experience is that of non-duality.  In that state there is no other principle that remains arrayed against it.  For a jnani established in the Self there is nothing that remains in opposition to him.  It is not therefore necessary (for him) to conquer any external things because in that state there is no remnant of anything that is separate.  When the Self becomes all-pervasive, the physical world is totally absent.  Therefore, in spite of the shakti being in the Atman, it does not become necessary to use it.  If one is in a state in which opposition is felt, then to work on that opposition, Atma shakti (power of the Self) is required.”                                   ~Shri Ramana Maharshi
That says it as clearly as anything I could possibly say.  Become good friends with that single paragraph, in order to keep your mind clear.  We explore this principle more deeply in the Course via email.
In a thread on Facebook, where we enjoy many stimulating exchanges, I remarked that I had no idea how much I help people, and someone wrote that surely I was being facetious to say that.  I replied thusly:
I understand where you are coming from, but I assure you I am not being facetious.  It is brutal honesty.  From my perspective I have written a lot for a long time, as that is what I do, in the same way that Narayana drives a taxi in Manhattan, and sometimes I spoke in front of audiences; yet whatever anyone got out of anything is between them and their inner Wisdom, which might have been wakened by the words, but which existed within all the while.  As I’ve said from time to time, the fact that some people actually experience me as a ‘spiritual teacher’ only proves that the infinite power (Shakti) of the Guru and the Lineage is not only real but extremely powerful.
Some of you might remember our old friend Scott Marmorstein, who a few years ago, when he was 30, experienced 5 intense heart attacks consecutively, and he is still pumping.  In fact, he will soon be marrying his beloved, Sri Yogini Michelle Synnestvedt.  Scott has a sharp and inquisitive mind, and he recently contributed this question, regarding a dialogue on my Facebook page:
“You said, ‘You will always be tested.’  The intimation to me was that the ‘testing’ was sort of an eternal game.  And my basic question is: WHY?  To be evolved and to fall again and to be evolved again ad infinitum, why?  I get it’s a Game, but doesn’t the Game Player eventually figure out a new Game to play?  Isn’t this one sort of old-hat by now?  Or… does memory play a major role in all this?  I suspect it does.  And, moreover, we both know the question and answer are just part of the Game and ultimately ‘unimportant’ in terms of ‘answers’, because all answers come back to whatever is in front of us now, as the Truth of the present moment.  Basically, my question to your statement ‘You’ll always be tested’ is…’What’s the point?’”
Fully understanding the answer to this question requires a subtle Intellect, which is different from the mind.  What first comes up for me is when the Guru was asked by a reporter, “Why did God become all this?  Why is He doing all this?”  And the Guru replied that if a reporter could ask God those same questions, God would say something like, What are you talking about? I never became anything.  I never did anything.  I have always remained as I am—this silence, this stillness.
So there is this Play, created by the tandem of mind and ego, that seems to exist as a linear sequence of events in time and space.  Yet, from a subtler perspective, it is more like a waking dream.  The Yoga Vasishta says that this waking life is only the dream of the jiva (the individualized aspect of the Universal.)
The ‘tests’ you inquire about are only a part of the Game, as you suggested.  There is no external power ‘testing’ us, especially in a way that we can ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ the test.  You know that in July this year, the day before my birthday, a huge tree was blown over and smashed into the master bedroom of our home.  This was obviously a test:  Can we live in half a house (which at this writing we still are), while remaining in harmony, with equanimity, regarding all that has to be done?
There has been an ongoing cacophony, and a lot of racket, many of the days since then.  Still I write, and Kay still keeps the Course going.  That is a simple example of a test.  The ‘tests’ show us where we are in our development, and what we need to do next, what needs to be developed or strengthened.
As far as why not come up with a different Game after all this while, it is a mass delusion that presumes all this time has passed and all this stuff has happened.  In reality, the Game exists only now; it just got started.
Devorah Feinbloom, healer, nutritionist, and chiropractor north of Boston, writes:
My current lesson says, “As far as knowing our ‘needs’, I for one would prefer to be free of need itself.  It would be freer and more expanding to let go of need than it would be to have it fulfilled. A need implies that we are not whole and complete as we are, and we ‘need’ something to be more whole and complete.  That is the way the ego thinks, as the ego likes to maintain an ongoing melodrama wrapped around needing ‘more.’
“Give up needs altogether. Once this truly occurs, when we are free of need, we discover naturally and automatically that we are already supplied with all we need, without even having to think of what we need.
“Go through life knowing that all your needs are already fulfilled, and will continue to be even moreso in the future.  Feel gratitude that all your needs are met without you even having to inform any Higher Power of your needs, since It knows what you truly need even before you do.”
She goes on...I understand and continue to expand and live more with the knowing that God provides all my needs and I don’t have to worry, don’t need to think about it or remind God, since God knows what I need and I will be taken care of.  But every time I read this part of the lesson my mind wrestles with these lines.  Is this referring to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs--like food, water, excretion, sex--or are you referring to non-essentials?  If your car is totaled and you still have to get to your job, you need to find a way to get to work. You can still have gratitude and know that all your needs will be taken care of and still need to find a way to get to work?  Am I lost in semantics here?
Sometimes I think that we have to have needs to create a relationship with the divine - divine as Father who answers prayers.  Are you saying prayer has no value but rather we should just KNOW that our needs will be met?  In the Jewish tradition we were taught to pray for all our needs, even if it is a shoelace.  Interested in your perspective.
That’s the conclusion of Devorah’s question.  The quotation marks above note the excerpt from her current lesson of the Course.
The Christ said, “It is not ‘I’ that doeth the works, but the Father within me…the same Father that is within you.”
Since there is no differentiation in Nature, the only true form of prayer is affirmation.  There is no need to ask or beg or supplicate.  And if you have to get to your job, your car, in today’s world, would be one of the ‘essentials’.  If you become conscious of a ‘need’, immediately, without hesitation, KNOW that your need is already fulfilled, and never doubt it.  You will prove the results to yourself.  There is no reason to take anyone’s word for anything.
Going from my own experience, I could never have created the details of my life.  In the same way, I could never have even dreamed to pray for, or ask for, all that I have been given.  Physically, I have to make my way through this world just like everyone else.  Inwardly, however, I have been bestowed with many treasures I could never have imagined to ask for or pray for.  On the inside I have been given many riches, including knowledge of the seven radiant jewels the yogis call chakras, which are much more precious than any physical jewels.
I can only rest in gratitude.  Gratitude is the answer to everything.  If you want to pray, pray for gratitude for all that you have been given.  Gratitude attracts even more of what we are grateful for.  Focusing on complaints, on what is wrong, on what is not enough, attracts even more of what we feel those things about.  If you learn only one thing from reading this, understand that gratitude is the most important thing.
Thank you for taking the time and the mental focus to read and share this.  If you wish to know more about the Course by email, “Living in the Truth of the Present Moment,” and to receive a complimentary lesson, write to:
drbutler.course@gmail.com
The Course is also available in Spanish and French.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Birthday to Be Remembered


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

 For information about the Course of Training and a free first lesson, write:     drbutler.course@gmail.com

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Best of the Best

The principles of Truth are not about something to believe in. There is no dogma. Living by them is a way of life—a certain attitude and approach to life, and an openness to what is new, for each present moment is absolutely new; it has never existed before now. Only now can you be new. Are you willing to do what is necessary for your own inner transformation?

No matter how well educated a person might be, there are certain universal truths that are beyond the scope of conventional knowledge. These principles take us into the very heart of what a few in all ages have known, and which all true Masters of all traditions have taught. I ask you to take no one’s word for anything, but rather to prove the truth for yourself through your own practical application of the principles which you recognize to be true.

The Truth is revealed within yourself. You might read words here alluding to the Truth, but your experience of it is your own. Through being open to these new ideas you will allow yourself the opportunity to experience the reality of them within yourself. The truth of any situation or relationship will become intuitively obvious.

If you honestly apply yourself to the process at hand, you will be amazed at the results, and you will enter the realm of the extraordinary. If by some chance this is the only thing you ever read of all that I have written, let me leave you with this to ponder in your days ahead:

That Self that exists within you is the same Self that exists within me. On the deepest level, we actually refer to the same “I.” The “I” we refer to is our own Awareness, our Awareness of Being, and it is the same Consciousness we all share in common. It is that which lets us know that we exist, that we are present here and now. It is the awareness, “I Am.” It is the awareness that exists prior to thought, before words arise, and before the initial stirring of the first ripple of emotion. It is our own inner joy, and it is also the love we experience in our heart.
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The past is over. Once we are in harmony with it, we are healed.

All that matters now is the Truth of the present moment, and the future we are creating and living into.

The future we live into is up to us, as we are creating it now as we go, through the creative power of our current thoughts and actions.

We can be whoever we want to be, and create a life of harmony, balance, and beauty forever. Nothing stops us except our own limited understanding and our own contracted awareness. We are not limited by the past unless we persist in bringing it into the present and recreating it all over again. Otherwise it is gone. Forget about it. Let it go. Live new here and now, and let’s create something beautiful and fulfilling to move into from here. Let's move on in lightness and freedom.

For the most part, who we think we are right now is only a concept we are heavily invested in—yet one that we are manifesting and living out as a seeming reality in space and time. Who we think we are is what is often referred to as the ego. The ego works in tandem with the conditioned mind, and actually identifies with our definitions and descriptions of ourselves, with the memories stored in the subconscious, and considers all this to be its own life.

The mind describes and defines the world of the present moment as it was conditioned, as it learned from others when very young. Then the ego identifies with these concepts and habitual ways of thinking and believes itself to be this person we consider ourselves to be. It is the character in the movie of our life that we identify with as being who we are.

Yet who we truly are goes back eons, way before this body was ever conceived even as a spark of an idea, much less as a miraculous physical formation. The splendor of our own inner Self exists right now in all its glory, if only we have the inner vision to perceive it. The magnificence of our own Being is hidden from us by the conditioned mind and ego. For this reason alone there is work to do.

Our higher nature already exists in all its fullness. Yet contracting thoughts, negative emotions, and egotistical melodramas cause us to focus on our lower, more limited nature, and we have our anger about it and our resentment and our depression and our irritation and all the rest of it.

Ultimately, simple as it seems, all we must do is to experience the Truth of the present moment, which is our greatness, our beauty, our purity, our perfection, and our divinity. Yet, due to the conditioned mind and ego, we are concerned with conditions and circumstances that bring our awareness far away from the peace and the fullness of our true nature.

This is known as delusion, which is basically seeing things other than how they are. Delusion is seeing things as they appear to be, or as we think they are, instead of how they truly are. A major aspect of spiritual work is attaining freedom from delusion.
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My philosophy is to be real, be sincere, be who you truly are, live according to your own heart and your own nature, feel good about yourself as God made you, even manifests as you, just as you are. Drop all pretension. Give up your fake veneer and your hypocrisy even when you think you’re being genuine. Stop playing your phony games that you’ve been playing so long you don’t even remember that they are phony games.

Give up the endless desires to impress anyone or to improve anyone. Please, please stop explaining yourself. There’s nothing worse than someone insisting on explaining something to you and thinking that you’ll understand something about them better after they complete their explanation. We all already get it. Get over yourself.

Rip off your mask of propriety and hurl it into the ethers. Forget everything you’ve ever been taught you should or shouldn’t do. Free yourself from the shackles of conformity. Stop worrying about being good enough for anyone else. You already are all there is. All you lack is this understanding.

Whatever you do, at least don’t feel guilty about it, because the guilt you feel is much worse than whatever you did to feel guilty about. In fact, the secret to truly enjoying a fulfilling life is simply to love every single thing you do during every single moment. Of course, you have to greatly value your own life in order to do this, but then that’s the point, isn’t it?

You are already divine; there’s nothing to become. Don’t do anything to seek the good opinion of others, to make others like you, or to attract others to you. Otherwise you will only lose yourself and fade into oblivion in the objective world of humanity, thinking you exist yet being only a floating reflection of how others see you. This greatly reduces you and in fact dissipates whatever Shakti, whatever inner power you might have gained, by caring how you are perceived by others. Love them, honor them for who and what they are, for whatever function or role they play in your life, and remain in harmony with whatever arises from one moment to the next.

No one needs to see you except yourself. Others need only to see their own Self. No one will ever understand you except yourself. Others have to understand their own Self. When we all do this, when we really get it that we’re the only One here, and that everyone around us is an individualized aspect of the same One, we’ll realize that deep within we share the same Self.

Spirituality is a matter of realization or recognition of the already existing Truth. Many have the delusion that it’s about becoming something or attaining something we don't already have. My Teacher said the Self is already attained. The only reason we do sadhana (spiritual practices) is to purify the mind and ego. Once they are clear and no longer prone to projection, delusion, and false identification, the Truth reveals itself within us naturally and spontaneously.

In one of the lessons there is a quote from Ramana Maharshi, the great Indian saint and sage. Let’s end with his words for now, for to me they perfectly sum up everything:

"There is no greater mystery than this: Being Reality ourselves, we seek to gain Reality. We think that there is something hiding Reality and that it must be destroyed before the Truth is gained...A day will dawn when you will laugh at your past efforts. What you realize on the day you laugh is also here and now.”

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William:  DR, you seem to be giving out a great deal right now. I have received many lessons so far and read all the blog entries and comments and everything else you've been involved in, not to mention immediately answering my question by email last night. Really, who would have thought that you'd be sitting around on a Saturday night online with students of the course?

Anyway, my question is, you are giving so much for free here on the blog. Aren't you afraid that, by giving so much away for free, many people who would otherwise take your course won't be taking it, since you are giving most people as much as they can keep up with in the blog alone? Does my question make sense?

I know that you have a daughter just beginning in college, and that you must generate an income to live in this world, just as we all do, especially in today's craziness. Thanks for your comments on living in the world in the recent entry, btw. Anyway, I just wonder if there is anything to my concern that you are giving away too much for free? Can you address this for me?

DRB: Am I giving away too much for free? What a fascinating question.

I thank you for your concern, William. You have a generous heart, and I appreciate where you are coming from.

Many of you probably know that I came in touch with yoga and meditation at the age of 15, when I lived in Mississippi, and moved to Greenwich Village in Manhattan at age 21, and over the next few years came across many different spiritual paths and traditions and teachers. I chanted with the Buddhists, danced with the Sufis, meditated with the yogis, worked on myself in Gurdjieff groups, went to see Krishnamurti, who turned into a light, Yogi Bhajan, Dr Ramurti Mishra, Swami Satchitananda, the Sufi Master whose name escapes me, Yogi Rama, Ram Dass, Guru Bawa, and a hoard of others that I just can't think of right now. All these great teachers, excepting Ram Dass, thank God, have left their bodies now. Yet, in their time, they each contributed in major ways to the growth of those who crossed their paths.

And who has come to take their places? No one can step forth today, or before you know it there will be a site on the Internet condemning them. Makes you wonder what that crucifixion stuff was really all about, and if anyone would actually do anything any differently today.

Of these that come to mind, excepting Ram Dass who thankfully remains among us--I remember Guru Bawa most vividly. He was a little old man who had appeared out of the jungles in Ceylon somewhere, and he was recognized by many as an enlightened being, a God-realized one--one who sees God and only God in everything everywhere he looks.

Speaking of Indian poet saints, Tukaram Maharaj said: O Lord, this is how I worship You: You are everywhere. You are in every direction. Wherever I turn, You are there. Wherever I go, You are there also. There is not a place, there is not a thing, there is not a person in whom You do not exist.

So I went to see Guru Bawa in the basement of this church in New York City. I took my place in the audience near the front, and since the program had not yet begun, I went to find the restroom.

I went down a hallway and opened a door that I thought led to the men's room. When I opened it, Guru Bawa was sitting quietly in a chair all by himself. I remember him like the sun itself, for he literally lit up when he saw me. He was a tiny brown man, dressed totally in white, bald but with a full glorious white beard, and he had these penetrating, sparkling, twinkling eyes that seemed somehow to be dancing with my own eyes. He looked absolutely delighted to see me. Then he humbly bowed down to me.

I had never been bowed to before. It was a humbling experience. And it was the last thing in the world I expected him to do. It just blew my mind more than anything else, and I suppose at the time that's probably exactly what I needed more than anything else.

I simply pardoned myself and backed out, but I knew inside that it had been well worth it to go to that church in New York City that evening, and to meet Guru Bawa in person. If someone could see God in me, I thought at the time, then he was indeed a God-realized being, for anyone less would not be up to the task.

Anyway, should I charge anyone money to quote Tukaram Maharaj or to tell them about the teachers I met along the way who added to my development? To me, it is only dharma, right action, to share my understanding freely with anyone who is open enough to receive it.

William touched on an excellent point when he said: "Aren't you afraid that, by giving so much away for free, many people who would otherwise take your course won't be taking it, since you are giving most people as much as they can keep up with in the blog alone?"

The truth is, it is more than most people can keep up with.  Yet they experience something that is different from what they already have, and they feel to look into whether they can keep up with it or not.

The really bizarre part about all this, from my point of view, is that only a handful of you will actually read all this. I remember once when I was with a genuine yogic Master, who must remain unnamed for now, and a man came to him and said, "My father says I am going against our faith by coming to see you, he insults you to my face, and I don't know how to deal with him."

The wise Master laughed and said, "Among a thousand people, only one will wish to know God. Your father is not that one."

So the weird thing to me is the number of people who might hear about this blog but never even take the time to read it. Or those who will skim over it without thinking it really has anything to do with their own life. Or those who think, how did one guy put it, that it is all "new-age mumbo-jumbo," which is not exactly an enlightened point of view, yet it is real out there nonetheless. Do my own children read my blog? I don't know. I guess I'll find out now. Anyway I write all this knowing that only a few of you will truly hear in your heart what I am communicating.

I used to travel around the world giving workshops, and I would always wonder where all the people came from. If there was a hall for 500 people, 500 people showed up. If the hall would hold 200, then 200 would show up. Where did they all come from? No matter what city I was in, people would come from many different states, even different countries, to take the workshop. What attracted those people to those particular workshops at those particular times? That is the question. And what is the difference between those people and those who don't have the time to read the blog at all even though they know of its existence?

What makes a person ready to do the work required to know his own inner Self? When is a person ready to begin this? These are questions we each must answer at our own time.

I have seen over the years that certain people are attracted to this particular work. There are people taking the course now who originally started taking my course by mail back in the 70's, and I went for years without having anything to do with them, and they are still here. Where do they come from? God only knows.

Still, the people who are ready, willing, and able to do the work of the present moment will be attracted to the course in a most natural way. Some mystical energy pulls us all together to do the work of the Self so that we can come to know and experience the same Self.

There will be people who read the blog who don't take the course. I welcome them with love. Everything here is offered freely and humbly. Hopefully there is something positive for you, something that will make a true contribution to your life.

There will be people who take the course who will say they don't have time to keep up with the blog. They only miss out on a certain aspect of the course.

Then there are those who are naturally attracted to the course, and these are the perfect people at the perfect time, just like everyone showed up at all the right times and places for all the workshops during the 25 years I actively led them.

What is my particular area of expertise at this point in my life? How, after all my study, training, and practice, can I function in a person's life that offers a unique impact?

The primary answer that comes up for me, in answering my own life's quest, from my own observation of many years, and after receiving much feedback from others around the world, is that I apparently function in the realm of transformation. I can work with a person in a way that helps guide him in his own personal transformation from one point of understanding and experience, to an entirely new, more expanded and elevated point of understanding and experience.

This is something that can only be done through the ongoing process of the Course of Training available through email.

I can share information, experiences, and positive energy in the blog as I am now, but the course must be taken for a person to be individually guided from one level of awareness and functionality to the next. Such a transformation requires an exchange of energy, and is not available for free. This is not my personal policy; it is simply the way the universe works.

If you look at any of the authentic spiritual paths and traditions, there have always been two levels of teaching available. One is the general teachings that are freely available for everyone, for the upliftment and enrichment of humanity at large. The other level of teachings are available only after an inner commitment has been made. The commitment is not to the teacher, but to being consistent and persistent in one's own path, and to not lollygag around, or be too lazy for too long, or to let the ego get away with too much, or to let the mind get too entangled, or to let the emotions get too negative, or to allow one's own state to be too contracted -- before coming back to the Truth of the present moment, back to the heart, and back to our love.

And here we are.

As I am writing, the Beatles are gently singing in the background, "All you need is love." And what was it that they said at the end of Abbey Road: that in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make?

How very true.

                                                       ******
It was made known to me in 2008 that it was time to write a new course, an entirely different course, starting from where I was now—with updated and a more refined understanding.  Now I could even more directly explore the principles of Truth I had studied, practiced, and been trained in since I was a teenager in Mississippi in the early 60’s.
Of course, my conscious mind was not certain even a single person would wish to take this new course.  I wasn’t sure myself what was going to come through; how could anyone else know?  Did I even still have anything worthwhile to say; it felt that I had already said everything.  Besides, it seemed that by now everything was already available on the Internet.  What could I possibly offer in addition to all that was already available?
I put my faith in my Teachers, each of whom had passed on something of great value to me.  My first Teacher trained me thoroughly in the Truth of Being—how the universe works, how the Universal becomes the individual, and what is the purpose of the individual, and how it finds its way back to the Universal.  This is the true game of life.
I wrote the first blog entry in July, 2008, introducing the Course and the underlying principles of Truth—it is still worthy of a new reading—and Kay and I contacted all the people we were able to and let them know that a new course was beginning.  I was surprised how enthusiastically so many of them were ready and even eager to start the new course—and already had the understanding that the new Lesson 1 was simply their next lesson, continuing from where the last one left off.
Since then, the Course has grown through word-of-mouth.  Sometimes the people you think might have the most interest in knowing about the Course have no interest whatsoever, while someone you would think would have no interest at all suddenly wants to know more, wants to get that first Lesson asap.
No one knows until they read Lesson 1 along with the intro material whether they want to try the Course or not, because many people are surprised at how the first two lessons affect them, or by what their experience of the lessons is.  Something happens that can’t quite happen unless one actually reads a lesson for himself.  It certainly cannot be described in words.
We are not a path of monks or ascetics.  Some of us are to some degree on the path of the yogi, but others not necessarily so.  We are ‘householders’, people living in the world, learning to see the divine in the world as well as ourselves.

Know that the only 'sin' is the consciousness of sin.  There is no cosmic list of do's and don'ts, or shoulds and shouldn'ts.  No one should should on themselves.  Whatever we are, whatever we do, is God in this form being or doing that.  There is no separation between us and the Divine

There is of course dharma and adharma.  It is not nearly the same as 'morals,' which have their origin in orthodox religion.  Simply speaking, dharma is doing that which benefits everyone involved.  Adharma is anything that hurts another on any level, or takes advantage of them, or in any way causes harm to others.
We are God in Human Form.  There is a section of the Course that explores this essential Truth quite extensively, so that it becomes consistently our own experience.  Whatever we do or experience, we are God doing or experiencing that.  As the Bhagavad Gita says, "All actions are His."  Nothing is in and of itself is either spiritual or unspiritual.  It is All the Same, all Equal.  The 'spirituality' exists only in the consciousness we bring to it.
My digestive system could never deal with a hotdog, but some people eat hotdogs, and when they do they are ultimately God eating a hotdog.  If someone has a glass of wine, it is God enjoying a glass of wine.  The one that feels like the middle-man, the person between God and the action, is the ego.  There is nothing between God and the action doing the action.  It is only God in the form of that action.
We explore this deeply in the lessons of the Course.  The point of this month's blog entry is to let you know clearly that there are no good or bad actions.  Love exists, and if we are attuned to that love in our own heart right now, everything we do or say is equally spiritual—which ultimately means 'natural.'  So don't judge yourself, ever.
Remember that guilt is the worst thing.  Guilt is worse than whatever we are feeling guilty about.  What affects us inwardly is all that is relevant  So think the highest of yourself, and let the actions of the body simply be the actions of the body. Then it is easy to live in perfect dharma.  (Dharma can be translated simply as 'right action.)
The process of Self-development takes place totally in what we call the Now.  No one ever has or ever will improve in the future.  In fact, in Reality, there is no such thing as self-improvement at all, but rather an unfoldment of what is always already here, like the bud blossoming into the rose.  It is possible, through the use and direction of Creative thought, to fulfill any reasonable desire, if it suits our higher purposes.  When we attain True Understanding, however, we then no longer have desires, for we are then constantly fulfilled to the highest possible degree.
This may sound incredible, but it is the state to which this process called ‘Life’ naturally leads.  Meanwhile, all your dreams can come true, if you choose.
We express physically as who and what we think we are.  We do what we think we do, and have what we think we have.  If we need more of anything, all we need to do is picture what we want in our minds, like a small child does in imagination, with the feeling that we already have it.  This mental creation attracts the object, condition, or experience like a magnet, causing our visualization to manifest physically.  Just remember that the 'feeling' is essential.
If we desire better finances, or improved health, or harmonious relationships, or to achieve success or development in some area—even Spiritual Realization, which is true Freedom—we must ‘imagine’ that we already have it, making a game of it the way a child would, instead of being  solemn and serious like boring grownups.  This creation of mental pictures is ‘fun.’ When we actually 'see' our own creation, we ‘enjoy’ it.  It makes us ‘feel good.’ 
It must have this kind of positive effect on us in order to affect us emotionally, and we must be affected emotionally in an uplifting way before our desired visualizations can become physical realities.
Our intellectual mind has the tendency to recognize what it thinks it already ‘knows,’ simply through familiarity with the ideas, and to reject hearing the same knowledge as something new.  Actually, though, we are not attempting to educate the intellectual mind, but rather to radically change subconscious impressions, causing the Universe to be viewed and Life to be experienced in a totally new way than what we’ve previously considered.
The subconscious mind is impressed in two ways:  through constant repetition, and through highly charged emotional events.  As we go into deeper secrets, the highly charged emotional events necessary to growth and improvement will occur naturally and spontaneously.  It may take a while for you to understand the significance of certain events in your life, but you will soon see that everything that happens to you is deeply meaningful and a significant piece of the puzzle. 
In the Course, certain ideas are repeated over and over in many different ways, approaching the principles from all possible angles.  As this knowledge begins to become a part of you, and as you begin to notice positive changes and results, you will greatly appreciate this method.  Meanwhile, it will be good to read and reread all lessons as often as possible, before the next new lesson arrives, for new insights and greater understanding will follow each reading.
Reading the lessons actually changes the way you feel and how you view the world.  It changes the state of consciousness which you live in daily.  It is not a matter of memorizing material, or even of believing what has been written.  By simply reading each lesson three or four times during the two weeks until the next lesson arrives, you will be amazed at the results.  Don’t take my word for this, but prove it to yourself.  The Truth is always easy to prove.  There is nothing to 'believe.'

We live in several worlds simultaneously.  Of these, our intellectual conscious mind and our five physical senses perceive and apprehend what we call the ‘physical world’.  The physical world is the realm of action and reaction, or cause and effect.  That is, here we reap the fruits of our actions.
The Universe is always in perfect balance, and therefore there is a corresponding reaction to every action.  In Sanskrit this is known as karma.  We use some Sanskrit terms occasionally, because they represent important Cosmic processes for which there are no English equivalents.  Each person is already fully involved with his karma—and only his karma.  There is nothing else on the physical plane to be involved with.
                                                 ******
These were all excerpts from previous entries of the blog, which many of you have never seen.  They are taken from the years 2008-2013.  Hopefully something has been of value to you.  If you have read it before, it is even better to have read it again.

For information and the first month (2 lessons) of the Course via email, write to:

The Course is also available in Spanish and in French.


        

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Preciousness of Each Moment


March was the first time in a long time that there was no blog entry.  A lot has been going on in my karmic movie, or my personal life, whichever terms you prefer.  A lot of different words and ways of saying things designate the same basic thing in essence.  People even have arguments saying the same basic thing in different ways.  Thing is, most people would rather win the argument than know the truth.
If this is your first time here, welcome.  This is not a ‘blog’ in the traditional sense, but rather an exploration of various principles of the Truth of Being.  The ‘Truth of Being’ is not just a ‘new-age’ thing to say that I picked up a few weeks ago.  I was first introduced to the principles in 1960 at the tender age of 15.  It was also during this time that I began my own discovery of living in the Truth of the Present Moment, which presently has become simply a natural way of being.
What takes us out of the Truth of the Present Moment?  Words.  Thoughts.  Automatic reactions.  Expressing negative emotions.  Living in our own egotistical melodramas.
Let’s begin with words.  Words are immensely more powerful than many of us are aware of.  A certain word or phrase can make us react in some way that we know is not the Truth of us.  After our reaction, we might feel foolish that we reacted to someone’s words.  The Sanskrit term for the power of words is matrika Shakti.  My Guru said, “Do not let the matrika make you dance.”
A group of words leads to a thought.  Rather, the group of words with a coherent meaning is the thought.  A thought is nothing more than a certain group of words that we have given meaning to.
On one level, our thoughts are generally insignificant.  They are not nearly as interesting as we make them out to be.  Also, most of them are, at best, some variation of some aspect of truth, or something relatively true for now.  Most thoughts are just mental clutter.  The space that exists between any two thoughts, or any two words, is very blissful and freeing.  However, it is a great process to gain the simple ability to maintain the gaze between two thoughts.
Most people cannot even conceive of a silent, still space between thoughts, between words.  They might even consider such a space as boring.  Thoughts lead to activity and stimulation, which many people are unknowingly addicted to.  Many people are only comfortable with plenty of activity and stimulation.  This leads to egotistical melodramas, and we get lost in them and lose all touch with the Truth of the Present Moment.
Egotistical melodramas is one of the key terms in our Course of Training regarding Living in the Truth of the Present Moment.  In short time we begin to recognize egotistical melodramas for what they are; not merely in retrospect, but as we are in the midst of them.  We learn to catch them ‘red-handed.’
We must develop the capacity to see what limits us and keeps us in some degree of ignorance, for only after we are able to see what holds us down are we finally able to recognize the very best of ourselves.  Truly, most all people are much greater, in essence, than they conceive themselves to be.  They limit themselves to constrictive or contracting concepts.  This is why we must learn to go beyond all concepts, and open up to the willingness to see something new—the Truth of our own Being, the Truth of the Self.
Briefly, an egotistical melodrama requires words and thoughts (to describe the situation and what is going on—which we take to be ‘reality)’.  The egotistical melodrama usually requires other people—often includes conflict, or an expression of negative emotions, and they take place in ‘time.’  In the present moment, they don’t even exist.  They exists in thoughts, and thoughts require time. 
The present moment is absolutely silent and absolutely still.
The present moment is the space between words or thoughts.  If we could rest in that state, we would live in absolute contentment.  Truly, contentment is the highest aspiration.  Once we are content, we have attained all we can attain while dwelling in this physical body.
Due to a rigid conditioning from the past, we cannot be content simply by deciding to be.  We can decide to remain content forevermore, and yet the next time someone says something we don’t like, we are caught up in an emotional reaction.  So a comprehensive and coherent ‘training’ is, if not required, at least highly recommended.  On our own, our head is spinning its tires to get free from snow, ice, sleet, sand, and mud of the mind.  We need something that helps us see what direction we’re going in and what is the next step.
At least this was my own experience with my own Teachers.  Simply through being in subtle relationship with them, my state would expand to a much greater degree, leading to a greater transformation, than anything I could have possibly done on my own, depending entirely on my own feeble efforts. 
Anyway, we each do what we can do, right?  I sit here and write having no idea of where this sentence will go, much less what will be written in the next sentence.  In a sense I am taking dictation, having no idea what I will write next.  I am simply the typist.  All my writings are much more amazing to me than to you, the reader, for you might think you know where these words come from, while for me it is a great mystery.
Some questions have recently come in.  I will respond to them here:
Someone wrote, "I don't feel I value or appreciate the preciousness of each moment.
“Here is my question:
WHY IS THIS LIFE SO PRECIOUS?
“What is it about being in THIS BODY that is so precious?  I want to fully appreciate the preciousness of each moment and am open to fuller understanding."
Being in this body is so precious because it carries a precious cargo.  It is our dharma to protect the precious cargo at any cost.  What if you could actually experience that nothing is inside this body other than God or Consciousness?  What if you were truly aware that you are carrying around the Lord everywhere you go?
If you felt alone with God, would you experience the preciousness of the moment? Well, in truth, you are alone with God right now.  God is peering through your eyes, hearing through your ears, and so on through all the senses.  There is no one in this body but God.  There is no middle-man.
When you fully understand this, you live in the consciousness of the preciousness of life.  You see that each moment is to be cherished and celebrated, because it is a distinctive part of the life you are living here on the planet Earth.  Why not cherish and celebrate each moment of life?  Is something ‘else’ going to happen?
This is how you experience the preciousness of the present moment.
Another wrote:  I have a strong sense of late that I did not give earlier lessons the required attention throughout the back half of volume one, in particular the section on ‘attention, conscious intent & will’
“I feel that ongoing events in my personal life are the result of a strong sense of self-doubt along with lack of clarity & there are earlier lessons that would assist me in breaking free from the corresponding samskara – which has undoubtedly led me to a current life situation that is rather unpleasant.
“Perhaps the best approach would be to discontinue where I am currently at with the lessons, to enable me to return to volume 1 for the coming period?
Your advice would be appreciated.”
No!  Do not do that.  One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking they should suspend their current lessons in order to ‘catch up’ with all the earlier lessons they did not give their full attention to.  Sooner or later we realize that the Course is not merely about the words in lessons, although reading them nurtures us inwardly.  Myself, I would never gullibly accept the truth of that simply because someone else said it.  I would have to prove it true for myself, by actually applying the principles of Truth in practical ways in my own life.
Listen, only a very few ever gave the earlier lessons their full attention.  Only a very few fully saw the great value in the section on ‘Attention, Conscious Intent & Will.’  It is a section of the Course designed to help us master our personal life in order to be free to explore other, subtler areas later in the Course.  By ‘personal life’ I mean anything perceived or experienced in regards to the karma of the individual being.
Any major principle that was explored earlier that you feel you did not give enough attention to, will come back to you in other lessons.  Nothing in the Course that is essential to understand will be mentioned only once.  The only way we can fully experience or imbibe major principles of Truth is through repetition.
The Energy (Shakti) of the Course is a process far beyond reading words either printed out (preferable) or online.  The primary practice of the Course is to focus on your current lesson as much as possible, for in your current lesson you will get the answers you need.
It takes the average participant of the Course approximately 2 years to fully understand and appreciate what the Course actually is.  Hopefully you will be above average.  
The Course is by no means merely about reading words; it is tuning in to a certain Energy or State that will help you move in the right direction, and know what the next step will be, and what the end-goal might be.  These answers will come to you from within yourself, which we ordinarily think of as ‘intuition.’  Nothing comes to us from outside our own Self.  The greatest truths arise from inside us, perhaps stimulated by what a Teacher says or does, yet we know we already knew it, we just never thought of the words for it. 
Because of the time it takes for most people to see and experience what the Course in truth actually is, and the opportunities available through participating in the process of the Course, everything in the first two years is primarily designed to get one’s personal life cleaned up and running in a competent, orderly fashion.  Those who think they can succeed on the ‘spiritual path’ without first mastering physical life have deluded themselves once again.
Depending on your love of reading, you can continue referring to your current lesson whenever possible, and in addition you can take time to gradually read the past lessons that you feel you didn’t imbibe at the time.  Remember, just reading the words of the lesson expands and transforms our understanding and experience.  By referring to the current lesson daily—perhaps supplemented with some reviewing of ‘older’ lessons—gradually trains and disciplines the mind. 
When you reread earlier lessons you find that you see meanings you never saw before, and new insights arise—because of the change in your state since originally reading it.  You will see things now that you were unable to recognize or take in during your previous reading(s).
If you stop the Course, thinking you can ‘catch up,’ you block the flow of spiritual energy required for inner development.  There is in reality nothing to catch up to. The Course is about living in the Truth of the Present Moment.  If you understand your current lesson, you understand all you need to know for now.  To get your life in order, and in harmony, you simply need to actually apply the principles in the lessons in all areas of your daily life.  Look at what you have been thinking that allows you to think of your life in the way you described.
One final exchange:  Someone wrote:  “What are the primary things that you feel are necessary for inner development?  I believe I might better focus my mind if I had some perspective or overview of what is happening and what we are here for if I had specific suggestions to follow.”
You know, I have been writing lessons for 39 years, culminating in this current Course of Training which explores all aspects of the Truth of Being—or the reality of the one Self simultaneously expressing as everyone.
From the title of the Course and the blog, you might guess that I feel it is essential to live established in the present moment.  Why?  Because the present moment is the only ‘time’ it is possible to experience higher feelings, such as love, compassion, and kindness.  If you get lost in time, you are once again lost in the negative emotions of egotistical melodramas, which take up the time of your life if you let them.
It is important to love your Self, and to see and love that same Self in all others in your karmic sphere, which pretty much includes everyone you have any relationship or contact with—otherwise, they would never come into your life.  First class spiritual growth is available through the awareness that the highest sadhana is to be in harmony regarding all other people, including their words and actions.  To live in harmony with everyone all the time—regardless of what they do or say—leads to a great inner state.
Above all things, love and respect yourself.  If you want something from another, be the one to give it, for only in this way will you be fulfilled.  Understand that you alone are the Source of your perception and experience.  When we understand the Truth, we realize that nothing outside us has any power over us whatsoever.  It seemed to have power over us before, but that’s only because we allowed it to.  Understand that you are first Cause of everything you see and experience.
Think positively and creatively.  Never think badly of yourself, or look down upon yourself.  Always remember that only the Divine dwells within and animates this body and mind.  Respect your Self.  Only in this way can you generate or experience true respect.  Never expect others to respect you—it is of no concern of yours how they see you.  Respect yourself and you will be happy and free. 
You have to think highly of yourself in spite of what others say; you can never think highly of yourself because of what others say. 
You live in your own creation.  This is the Truth.
For information regarding the Course of Training, and the first two lessons, or essentially the first month of the Course, write: drbutler.course@gmail.com
The Course is also available in Spanish and French.