Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Self-Interview March 2015


Q:  I haven’t been able to pin you down for a long while now.  You isolating?  Been avoiding me?

A:  It’s been a long cold winter.  Snow is still all we can see in every direction.  It’s supposed to be Spring.  But it’s all the same, isn’t it, all God’s brilliant, pulsating play of the present moment.  I think I’ve finally been able to be content and whole within myself, unrelated to anything in the outer world.  Kay and I have decided that the best approach to being together until the end is to simply accept each other as we are.  Trying to change each other at our age is very tiring, frustrating, and just not worth it.  We are beyond being improved upon.  We can only grow within.

Q:  What mostly still gets to you?

A:  The only thing I’ve noticed in a long time is my children.  They still have the power (which I have given them) to affect my feelings.  I just want to always live in harmony, respect, and love with them.  It’s pretty unconditional for me, and I think that truly it is for them too, but I have a tendency to think I’ve done or not done something that displeased them or that they disapproved of.  My younger son Shane always asks me why I bother to do that; he always makes me contemplate something I need to better understand.  When Graham Nash wrote ‘teach your parents well,’ he really nailed it.  I learn a lot from them, but not much surprises me from other people.

Q:  How is it that nothing surprises you about other people?

A:  Well, I’ve been ‘officially’ working with people for about 40 years now.  A lot of people have shared very openly and honestly with me.  After a while everything is simply some variation of something you’ve already experienced or seen.  I don’t remember hearing or reading anything in a long time from anyone that seemed really new or original.  It’s just this person’s version of something that’s basically very common, an aspect of human nature, or of the human condition.

Q:  Is there a difference between human nature and the human condition.

A:  Of course.  Human nature is the way people naturally are.   The human condition is the way people have been conditioned to be.  We do this that we share together here and in the Course to break free from the human condition, and to simply flow freely with our human nature—which is an essential aspect of what we are to do during this physical incarnation.

Q:  I’ve read your blog entries now and then, not as much as would be good for me, I admit.  (See, I didn’t even say ‘should have’ because I know you don’t like us to ‘should’ on ourselves.)  Every blog entry seems quite different from the previous one, and yet somehow there seems to be a great order inherent in your teachings.  Where does that primordial order come from?

A:  That idea ‘your teachings’ brings up this great wince inside me.  I have no teachings.  I invented no philosophy.  I certainly never followed a religion.  I had the good fortune in my life to spend some quality time with some of the great spiritual Teachers and Leaders during my lifetime, and I wanted the knowledge as I wanted to breathe, and I soaked it up like a sponge.  Even at 15 I intuitively knew that this knowledge, and the ability to apply it in daily life, was the most important thing in the world.  In my 70th year I would not be still writing this otherwise. 

So what you are calling ‘teachings’ are Principles of Truth as they were taught to me by my major teachers, assimilated, and coming out in a generic form that includes all traditions and paths simultaneously.  I am basically a typist and seemingly a regular person in all ways, although admittedly my own children have sincerely (though lightheartedly) let me know that I had to admit it, that I am definitely bizarre.

Anyway, the Principles of Truth go back to the beginning of time, even before humanity roamed the earth.  That spark of Truth was hidden where most human beings would be unlikely to look for it—within themselves.  For some reason I was ‘appointed’ at an early age in an unlikely environment and family history to transmit the Principles not only mentally but experientially, so that people can actually experience what they are reading as they are reading it.  It simply requires the least bit of openness and receptivity to the possibility, and the rest just happens.

At 30 or 40 or maybe even 50 I could seem very deluded for saying such things, but at this time of my life I could care less if anyone thinks I’m deluded.  If I’m deluded, it’s okay with me.  I have simply practiced to prove the Truth to myself, and am now passing on the teachings of my Teachers.  I have to think I’m something in order to be deluded, and I know there’s nothing here but the Self.  And you can experience it too—right Now—pure Consciousness.

And then life goes on.  We do our work.  We walk the dog.  We remain connected to family and dharma where family life is concerned.  We shovel the snow (written in the winter of ’15).  We do what needs to be done.  We set along some time for some guilt-free relaxation and recreation—which is essential to a balanced life.  Everyone has a karmic play to flow through.  If we can simply remain in harmony with whatever comes up, we will enjoy life and be satiated in love.

Q:  Wow, you say you don’t have teachings, yet once you get going…

A:  Yes, it’s a great paradox.  It’s like a water faucet.  You turn it on and it just flows until it is turned off.

Q:  You don’t communicate like you have something memorized.  You really just let it flow spontaneously, don’t you?

A:  Yes, after all these years, that turns out to be true after all.  I don’t know anything.  I can’t even remember things.  Sometimes I’ll be doing something I’ve done easily all my life, and somehow I’ll be meticulously going through each detail, like a child who was learning how to do something for the first time.  For all I know there’s not much difference between me and a person with dementia.  The primary difference is in Awareness.  Awareness can get you through dementia so easily that you’ll actually enjoy it.

Lacking in Awareness, however, and the flame goes out.  There’s simply a vacancy.  Awareness is ahead of everything—way ahead of mind or emotions.  It is awareness that allows us to ‘see’ and ‘know’ our thoughts and feelings.  It is also awareness to see that there are no thoughts or feelings.

Q:  Where does the Awareness come from?

A:  That’s a great question, but there’s no answer that satisfies the mind.  Awareness is Self-emanating.  It is its own Source, for nothing else exists, except the relative world we can be aware of.  Is the sun a source of light or a receptor of light?  We know that moonlight is a reflection of sunlight, but what is sunlight the reflection of?  It is is the Light of the Self, the Light of Consciousness.

Q:  So you can live in this Light and still be affected emotionally by your children?

A:  It’s a great paradox, isn’t it?  We live on so many levels of existence simultaneously; there are so many dimensions that exist concurrently, right now, and we play our own dharmic role in each.  On one level we are pure Light, Love, and Bliss, undisturbed by the mind, the emotions, or the outer world, including this physical body we presently to occupy.  On another level we are incarnated in a physical body as a cycle of karma, part of the Soul’s journey back Home.  And we have all the same potential human feelings and experiences as any other human.  We never really ‘go beyond’ anything, except in self-righteousness.

Our life manifests as our individual, unique karma—a karmic movie.  If we can remember we are the audience, the Observer, the Witness, of the movie, and don’t get personally involved with characters or happenings, then we will simply enjoy a good movie.  Sometimes it will be a love story.  Sometimes a melodrama.  Sometimes it will be horror movie.  Other times an action movie, or a slice of life, or intense suspense, yet other times a comedy.  Some movies are even ‘black humor,’ which are among my favorite.

I am the last remaining parent my children have.  I feel I have a lot more to ‘live up to’ than I probably would if their mother were still alive.  She was kind of the ‘primary’ parent, as mothers usually are.  I pitched in the best I could and was always there for them.  Now, though, they are old enough to take care of themselves, although my daughter won’t be 20 until May.  She is very mature and sensible, though, and very strong too for her experiences in life, so I feel really good about how all their lives are going.  Still I am always 50 years older than my daughter is.  Although I probably did my best parenting with her, at a more mature age, the downside of having a daughter at 50 is that no matter how long I live, she will still be relatively young.  But that’s the karma we signed up for.  I’m sure everything will work out perfectly.

Q:  How do you and Kay get along together?

A:  What can I say?  We met at a Yoga Conference in the summer of ’76.  I was teaching and she showed up for the class.  For many years she’s been my best friend and confidant, and for most of that time she’s worked closely with me and has been the Course manager for many years, in its different manifestations.  I don’t know of anyone else offhand who could help me get the Course out the way she does.  We are a good match, enjoy pretty much the same things, and have mostly learned to simply accept each other as we are.  In case you’ve never tried it, it’s pretty hard to change someone at 70 for the better.  As the songwriter John Prine once put it, “You are what you are and you ain’t what you ain’t.”  That about sums it up.

Q:  Do you have anything particular to say to people reading this who aren’t taking the Course?

A:  You’re missing out on one of the best things available in the physical world for inner development and increased understanding.  There is nothing else similar to the Course of Training via email, with two new lessons every month.  You might think it’s like something else, but I can assure you that it isn’t, and there are a few hundred students who will tell you how true that is.  In fact, going back to its beginning in 1975, more than 50,000 people have taken the Course in one form or another.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your first Teacher, whose Course you started taking when you were 15?

A:  He died at age 93 the year before I began his Course.  Luckily his wife was 50 years younger, and continued to send out his lessons for many years.  His father was British nobility and his mother was an Indian woman his father met on his travels to the East.  He entered Oxford University at age 15.  He was visiting the Taj Mahal with some friends as a young man when he saw a man near a Bo tree that he recognized, and he excused himself to go see him. 

He remembered the man from catching him as a child when he fell out of a tree.  The man still looked the same as he had then.  The man told him that he was expected as a lamasery in Tibet that no one could possibly find unless they were led there.  He told him they already knew about his whole life.  My Teacher said he had to think about it, and the man told him what hotel in Bombay he was staying at and said be there by the next morning if he wanted to go.

When he went back to his friends they asked him what he was doing, and he told them he went to talk to a familiar man.  They said, ‘What man?  You were alone by yourself the whole time.’

Needless to say, he followed the man to the lamasery in Tibet and didn’t leave until 17 years later, when his Master sent him to America.  He was in Swami Vivekananda’s entourage when he came to Chicago in 1897 to first present Eastern teachings to a Western audience.  He was among the first to meet with Swami Yogananda when he first came to America, before he ever became the Paramahansa. 

He was the Western representative of the Lodge of Mystics or the Great White Brotherhood (having nothing to do with color of skin.)  These are the ones who are primarily responsible for overlooking and guiding the spiritual growth of the people on Earth.  Even the Indian Masters look up to the Masters in the lamaseries of Tibet and Nepal.  He wrote his final Course when he was in his 80’s, and that’s where I received my primary Training, which contains the ‘understanding that will make you free.’  This month, actually, is the month of his birthday.

Our Course is the modern interpretation of the Principles of Truth that have been around for eons, but which did not originate on this planet.  We are like the ‘minor leagues,’ with a few true and authentic Teachers available to take us to higher or more expanded levels of Being.

Our Course is especially important for other teachers to refine their understanding and be initiated into the higher realms available to them.  Trying to teach others without this Training can be limiting, in ways that can’t be understood until the Truth of Being is fully understood.  Like my Teacher before me, I will never be widely known in a public way.  He understood that persecution is the fruit of true Masters revealing themselves or what they actually teach. 

I have already experienced this to a limited degree, and know the perils of fame as a ‘spiritual teacher.’  Those who teach or reveal secret knowledge, or ‘the mysteries', are inevitably persecuted by those who want the Truth to remain what they have always imagined it to be, according to how their minds were molded at a very young age, and they do not want their order of the world threatened.

Q:  Didn’t your Teacher say something about Teachers, including himself?

A:  Yes he did, and this was one of my favorite things he ever wrote, although it took me many years to finally fully understand it:

“He or she is great who disturbs you, irritates you, even affronts you, so that you are shaken out of your habitual ways—fairly pulled out of your mental ruts, lifted up above the commonplace.

“The writer, for instance, is great whom you alternately hate and love—whom you cannot easily forget.  In his private, personal life he may be proud, arrogant, crude, coarse, irritable, absurd, or even immoral…I grant all that…and yet be great.  He is not great because of these reprehensible qualities, but in spite of them.

“The apparent inconsistencies and inequalities of his nature may contribute in great measure to his power, just as the rocks, boulders, chasms, woods, mountains, and valleys make up the grandeur and majesty of the Yosemite, or Yellowstone Park.  So here’s a tip:  Fall in love with your Self and be your own Teacher.  This is my truest and most sincere advice.”

If your destiny is to teach others, be careful how you present yourself.  Be modest and humble among all things.  Don’t let on that you possess ‘the Secret of the Ages’ even if you do.  True knowledge is best concealed, except to those rare ones who are evolved enough to grasp the Truth no matter where it leads them.

I will close the interview at this point.  Thanks to all who put in the time and energy to read this, and may the Truth be revealed more and more to you each day.   

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

Thanks to our translators who have volunteered to help make the Course available to as many as possible, the lessons are also available in Spanish and French. 


I’ll meet with you in the ‘comments’ to follow.  Questions contribute to the understanding of all, even if you already ‘know’ the answer in your own way.  A lot happens on a very deep level in that space we share together.  Be Happy.  Be Love.  Celebrate.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, on to the questions and answers:

Q:  In my current lesson it says “We can experience hostility or intense resentment simply because we lack the determination and will to replace habitual reactions with something more uplifting.”   My question is “how does belief or faith relate to will?”  An important mentor in my life recently advised me to pray. He said I should ask God for what I want and offer my actions as devotion. I am unaccustomed to devotion or prayer as I was not raised in any religious tradition. In fact, I was raised by “devoted” atheists. Nonetheless I feel there is some connection to my struggles with maintaining the will to focus my attention on a conscious intent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q:  In my Current lesson the exercise is to practice resting in the turiya state even while functioning in the world. I don’t understand this concept at all. Believe me, I would love to be able to do this, because I think it might help me with the chronic insomnia I experience, which then leaves me very tired when trying to function during the day. I feel as if I don’t spend any time in a deep-sleep state during the night. Is there any connection here? Could you explain more about resting in the turiya state, what it feels like, how to access it?

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

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

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

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

Q:  How is the breath related to the subtle body?  Does the subtle body “breathe”?  I know you have probably answered this in the Course or here before, but I’d love to hear it one more time.  I heart repetition.

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

Q: In my current lesson it says:  “It is juicier to experience being the lover than it is to be the beloved, although in reality we are one and the same.”  I couldn’t figure out the first part of the phrase, though the second phrase resonates.  Hmmm. I’m not really looking for “corrections,” but some things seem odd even when I read them multiple times.

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

Q:  It is very clear that a large part of my sadhana [[the inner 
spiritual work]] consists of coming into harmony with a loved one, my only child, who struggles with substance abuse. I continue to struggle with my reactions to his undesirable behavior; not only the fact that he’s addicted to heroin which will eventually kill him, there’s the lying and stealing that goes along with it. 

Anger is a big one for me.  I’m angry when he steals from me and lies to me, I can’t trust anything he says, I’m angry because it’s so painful to watch this, it doesn’t seem fair.  I feel shame, I grieve for the loss of the little boy I had such high hopes for.  Every parent enjoys taking pride in their child’s positive development and successes, how do you come into harmony with this?

I don’t know how to or what to replace this anger reaction with when it comes upon me SO fast. I without a doubt feel compassion for his struggle, but compassion takes a back seat when anger is in town.  It’s hard to feel gratitude too.  How do I keep an open loving heart and not sacrifice my own well-being in the process? God only knows where I would be had it not been for this Course - thank you!  It has taken me quite a while to actually compose this question to you - it seemed so daunting. I need some help. Thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Answers to Some Excellent Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The lessons are also available in Spanish and French.

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

Love to all.





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