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:
“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.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What Is the Most Essential Understanding?

Hello and welcome to this month’s blog entry.  This blog is for anyone interested in living in the Truth of the Present Moment.  Most people, if we were to ask them, think they are already living in the present moment.  Yet there is often confusing and irrational stuff going on in the mind, or the emotions are in turmoil over some seemingly good reason, or we are focused on some sort of physical discomfort.  Tuning in to such things may be in the present moment, but it is not the Truth of the present moment.
The Truth of the present moment is not about whether our back hurts or we are thinking crazy stuff or if we are depressed or angry or anxious or in any other emotional state.  The Truth is that which remains true at all times and places, and among all people.  The Truth does not fluctuate.  It is always the same.  It is eternally changeless.
Those first two paragraphs are from a blog entry I made a few months ago, and I ran across it and thought it was about as clear as I could verbalize it.  There is this part in us that reads or hears those ideas, and thinks, that’s nice, but it is still not that important, not that great of a priority.  And we spend our time engaged in very temporary and meaningless melodramas that we somehow convince ourselves that are an essential aspect of our life, and that they are what’s actually going on.  This only shows how brainwashed, how hypnotized we truly are.
There are a growing number of us around the world who have dedicated our lives to living in the Truth of the Present Moment.  The central practice that we share is reading the lessons of the Course of Training sent and received via email. 
The next most intense and transformative aspect of the Course is the blog and the exchanges in the comments following the entry; this aspect of the Course is available free to the public. 
A more casual and lighthearted aspect of the Course is my Facebook page, where we maintain an ongoing dialogue of an elevated nature; this is also available to the public. 
Other aspects of the Course are revealed in time through the process of participating in the lessons of the Course. 
Nothing whatsoever is expected or demanded from participants other than remaining closely in touch with their current lesson.  Of course, in order to fully benefit from participation in the Course, the principles of each lesson must be applied in practical ways in everyday life.  The lessons contain no dogma or theory; they are only valid through our own experience. 
I began my own inner journey at 15 in 1960; now I am revealing all I have come to understand in the simplest, clearest, and most easily applicable ways possible through the physical form of the Course.  It does, however, require actual participation.  It is not a spectator sport.
In the other blog entry I also found these three paragraphs:
Something inside you attracted you to read this—something that is interested in what is going on here, which corresponds to something going on within you.  First of all, what is going on here is not primarily about the words and ideas.  There is a spiritual energy available that is awakening and elevating.  Of course, the ordinary mind is full of doubt and distrust.  Why should anyone trust what is being said?
The only validity of what happens here is found in your own inner experience.  Either something happens or it doesn’t.  There is no reason to take anyone’s word for anything, or to accept anything on blind faith.  The Truth can easily be proven, and you can prove the Truth for yourself.  The point is to know with full certainty, and not to merely ‘believe.’
The mind of the average person is filled with untrue beliefs and assumptions.  Even most educated people simply carry around a lot of useless knowledge.  We recognize this as ‘limited knowledge,’ which is knowledge that actually limits us.  True knowledge is what can be actually proven and applicable in practical life.  There is no reason to assume anything.  Remaining open to the Truth is a much more powerful way to live.
I’m happy that I ran across those words from the previous entry, because I had no idea what I might write about this month, and frankly had no urge to write anything at all.  If you’d been writing about the same thing for 39 years (as of this writing) you might wonder what to write next too.
Since the Energy was not there to begin writing a blog entry, I decided I would work on the new lesson, as there are always people out there waiting for their next new lesson.  And if one is a day or two late, boy do we get the emails wondering where their new lesson is J
Interestingly, I had no problem writing the new lesson, the lesson no one in the world has seen before.  It just happens.  I have no idea what I will write in a lesson either, so I simply go to the computer and start typing.  After writing a bit, I thought, since I don’t know what to write about in the blog, I’ll just share a page or so of the lesson I am writing.  So what I wrote in the lesson is the following:
Above all things, we have to remember that our own thoughts create our own reality.  Our own mind is always the first thing to look at if anything about life feels iffy. 
Everything else in life, whether hellish or enlightened or anything between, originates from the contents of the mind, which we have chosen or allowed.  If we do not know what we are thinking, we actually have no idea of what is actually going on.  We are living in a kind of fog, although we assume this is normal and don’t really grasp that something much greater is easily within reach.
Right now, are we doing everything possible to make this existing moment a glorious one for ourselves and all those around us?  Are we thinking thoughts that will lead to results that will be most beneficial to ourselves as well as others in our life?  Most of us have studied this principle for so many years, and even practiced it to some degree—probably enough to see the power of it when used constructively. 
Yet, unknowingly, unconsciously, from a powerful habit that stretches back further than we can remember, we continue to entertain negative or limiting thoughts, thoughts about what we don’t want, and thoughts that lead to the most unpleasant emotions.  Through this process, which includes getting the emotions involved, we habitually create and recreate the very things we don’t want, and then we lament, thinking ‘bad’ things are happening or that something is going ‘wrong.’
Anytime we think something ‘bad’ is happening or that something is going ‘wrong’—we need to let that be an ‘alarm clock’ to wake us up and remember to pause and see what is actually happening.  Those two ideas, especially key words like ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’, exist only in the conditioned ego and mind. 
Once we find ourselves describing such things in words, either to ourselves or to others, this is an extremely clear sign that the ego has taken over and is making us think that we are whatever the mind is describing us in words to be, or whatever we accept of the words others express to us, even if it feels more contracted to do so.  This way this apparent life goes on even though nothing ever really happens.  Nothing has ever happened yet.  There is only this dream, this play of Consciousness.
Some might want to argue that things definitely happen, that they see and experience things happening, and that they are actually affected by what happens.  Of course there is a level of existence where, governed by the immutable law of Cause and Effect, things do apparently happen in each individual’s life.  Both ‘causes’ and ‘effects’ often appear as ‘things happening’.  The higher Self that dwells beyond words, beyond the conscious mind, simply observes the causes and the effects taking place, in this magnificent, unprecedented play of Consciousness.  The silent and still Self sees all that is seen and knows all that is known.
Our higher Self, or our true Self, sees only beauty and perfection everywhere, and in all things and beings.  It doesn’t, however, see ‘situations’ in the same limited ways that we do; it only observes how the mind creates a melodrama and how the ego takes it ‘seriously’ and gives meaning to it, which arouses certain corresponding emotions.  There is an apparent ‘situation’ in our life that we assign some kind of meaning to, and according to the meaning we give it, we experience corresponding emotions, and most people actually assume that all this is happening in their real life, and that it has some importance or significance.
In this way, we have identified with the infamous egotistical melodrama.  Suddenly our whole life seems wrapped up in this thing we have created in our mind, but which we ‘believe’ has a significant reality of its own.  In reality, however, nothing is happening whatsoever.  We live in our thoughts.  Everything has the same Source, and the mind alone determines how we experience it as an individual. 
Always remember, What you Think is What you Get.
So that’s a little excerpt from the lesson I am currently working on, and I think it works perfectly as the main thrust of a blog entry.  This is what we do, our approach to life, and our attitude toward the existing moment.  You have been offered a true glimpse of the lessons and possibly even how the Course works, according to how subtle and refined your vision might be—which is developed through the process of participation in the Course.
Twenty or thirty years ago I couldn’t say certain things because I might have sounded mostly delusional.  Since my next birthday, on July 4, I will be 69, I feel okay about saying what I say now, or rather, allowing what comes out.  It does not concern me how it sounds or what anyone thinks.  After all, it’s not the least bit uncommon for a fellow in his late sixties to be considered delusional, so it’s fine with me however anyone chooses to interpret these words, or how open anyone is about receiving what is being offered.
I hope this brief offering has clarified something or helped in some way.  If uncertain, try reading it again.  If you in any way experienced any kind of expansion or upliftment, please come back for more frequent visits; even dare to participate in the comments or ask a relevant question.  Also visit us on my Facebook page; it’s fun.  And if you truly wish to explore this deeply and more specifically, give the lessons of the Course a trial.  You can start off with 3 months, 6 months, or even a year—which saves you money and us time. 
As one participant said, “For the cost of a pizza a month, miracles are inspired, and a true transformation takes place.  I have so much gratitude that I learned of the course’s existence, and that I had the courage to try it.  I am still a bit amazed that more do not know of it or what is available through it.”
Now you know about it, and have been given a clear glimpse of what is available.

For information about the Course and a free first month (first two lessons) write: drbutler.course@gmail.com.
The Course is also available in Spanish and French.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Death of a Loved One

 Sometimes we’re forced to stop and view the world from a whole new perspective, taking us even deeper in our experience of life than we ever experienced before.  A sudden and unexpected death of a loved one wipes away all the pettiness we are concerned with during ordinary life.

January 9 is the birthday of my wife for 23 years—until karma pulled us in different directions—and the mother of our 3 amazing children, Jnani, Shane, and Sara—our 18-year-old daughter.  A few days earlier, however, this woman many of you knew as Kanti, and some of you knew as Nadine Kennedy, left her body and this world after a long battle with illness.

Kanti and I remained close friends all the way to the end.  I know she was concerned about the children being without her, and would they have everything that they needed.  Her entire life was about the well-being of our children, and she was a very loving and caring mother.  The great thing now is the many exceptional qualities she passed to our children simply through being such an excellent example.

I think everyone in our family quietly assumed I would one day be the first to go, and the mother would be around for quite a while longer to be her usual responsible self, taking care of all the necessary details.  So it adds to the shock of her passing that she was the first to go. 

And I ask myself, can I, at 68, have the strength and the wisdom to be the only living parent for our children?  They are the best children anyone could hope for, and I pray that the best I have to give them is enough.  Kay has always been a wonderful step-mother, as she has known them all their lives, and she has always been part of our family anyway.  I know that together we will make sure the children always have a strong sense of family and home—which they are more and more developing among themselves as young adults.  I know they will always enjoy a blissful life, even amongst the many karmic challenges we all face from time to time.

I wanted to post this on January 9 in honor of Kanti and all that she gave the world.  She helped many people over the years, and was always the effervescent light—which is the literal meaning of her name.  For all of us who knew her, she will live on in our hearts.

I would like to share some Q&A exchanges that have come in:

 “Sometimes when we're hurting or—and maybe especially—when we see someone suffering, it is very hard to think of it all as a game.  Part of the pain of compassion comes from the very recognition of what I see ‘out there’”

Compassion is primarily developed through experiencing the poignancy of life, whether our own or another's or others'.  For example, the recent death of my children’s mother is extremely poignant.  My children are great people.  Logically, they don’t deserve anything like this.  Yet it is their karma.  Though coming into harmony with the poignancy, great compassion is developed that will make them even greater people throughout their lifetimes.

Someone sent me this great quote:  "Grief and sorrow are natural at certain tragic moments in life.  We need to find ways to pass it through the heart as we learn to accept and live with what has happened.  The heart must be allowed to breathe whatever feelings arise in it from loss.  Anger, fear and grief are natural companions to loss.  However we also have to be careful not to cling to them or the pain.  If we brood too long we risk the heart freezing in time, shutting down and turning to debilitating despair.  In time sorrow will become compassion, acceptance and forgiveness.  And, we become more empathetic to the suffering of others." ~Devi Ma

When we understand the poignancy of life in ourselves, then it is much easier to understand and empathize with anyone's pain or suffering on any level.  And it is very good to see it all as the poignancy of life.  It is the best perspective and the highest understanding.  Otherwise the suffering inherent in this world makes no sense.

Someone sent me this message:  Your most recent message (on Facebook) about Kanti's passing brought tears to my eyes.  It would be so easy to sublimate one's complicated feelings of loss and grief within a context of philosophy and beliefs, but you have given expression to those feelings of grief which have validity and a right to be expressed.  I love the words you have chosen to express your courage and determination to steer your children through their course of life.  I lost my husband in an accident 6 months ago.  My parental duty has been uppermost in my mind amidst the shock and the grief.  I admire your vow.  I am sure you are taking comfort in the outpouring of love from all those around you.

My wife Kay looked at Kanti’s previous lesson and her current lesson.  In her previous lesson it was written:  “Any one of us who reads this could be nearing the conclusion of this particular incarnation, so if you read something here like ‘we’ll explore this more deeply later in the Course,’ please know that when your time comes for the Grand Transition and you leave behind the earthly limitations, you will have already received everything from the Course that you could ever need.  Remember, the lessons correspond to exactly what you need at the time.  When the time for the transition comes from this world to the next, you will be more than ready, and will understand and flow with what is actually happening, well-prepared to make the best of the adjustment.”

And her most current lesson during the time of her passing said:  “To onlookers in the physical realm it appears as though ‘death’ has occurred.  In reality, however, no one has ever yet died.  There was merely a transition from the physical, as seen by physical eyes, to the subtle, unseen by physical eyes.  The body then returns to the elements of the Earth, from which it was formed and of which it was composed.  As we meditate on formlessness, we begin to expand.  If we are not contained (thus limited) by the form of this body, we expand endlessly.  When the balloon pops, what happens to the air?  Does it die?  No, it simply merges into the air all around it.  It goes from being limited to being Infinite.  In the same way, if the attention goes beyond the limited form of this body, we merge into the same Consciousness that pervades and permeates the entire Universe.  Yet it is all right here, right now.”

If the ONE is everything, then "who" is purifying the ego?  Is not the ego an aspect of the Self?  The Self constricts into the ego though remains the Self - no?  I was raised Catholic and we're always reminded we come into this world with "Original Sin."  Is this the same as karma?  I would love your wisdom on this please.”

This is a very great question. It shows you are doing true contemplation.

You are right, 'The Self constricts into the ego though remains the Self.'  There is nothing at all except the one Self.  However, the Self, being innately playful—like puppies, kittens, and young children before they are made serious by society—plays a game with Itself, which is to forget Itself and to think of itself as all these particular individuals.

So there is actually no one to either have an ego or to purify the ego.  It all simply happens in the game the Self plays for its own enjoyment.

The Self forgets Itself for the pure joy of remembering the Truth once again.

Karma is NOT the same as 'Original Sin.'  There is no such thing as 'original sin.'  The only sin is the consciousness of sin.  We come into this world with Original Purity or Original Divinity, which is soon hypnotized by the world around it, causing us to forget our true and eternally changeless Nature.  And the Game goes on.

"The challenge I face is truly seeing & understanding what is to be learned."

Usually what is needed to be learned is right in front of us.  It could be very subtle, or it could stick out like a sore thumb.  It cannot be figured out by the mind, but it is intuitively obvious whenever the knowledge is needed.  The mind cannot come up with a solution, but if we open up to what is needed, it will arise as an insight from within.

I suggest you stop defining your life as being stuck in an unhappy work situation. From your comments, it is obvious that you are only make half-hearted efforts, if that, toward being positive and seeing your life with an uplifting vision.  As it is, you are simply allowing your habitual negative thoughts to take over, without even realizing what is happening.  And then you are no longer in control of your life.  You habitually recreate unhappy work situations.  Please remember that your vision of the world and your life determines your experience of the world and your life.  We think vision follows the fact, but the truth is that our vision creates the fact.

Describe your life and your prospective future in much more positive and lighthearted ways, and you will be amazed at how everything else changes as well.

“I have recently come upon your blog while browsing the web.  I find I can't stop myself reading your posts!  I am a little confused on exactly what your course goal is?  What exactly do people that go through the course achieve from it?  Is it to get in touch with ones spirituality?  I have always been interested in as you put it 'spiritual evolution'.  In a strange way I feel this is something I have really been looking for.”

This is wonderful.  There is a true opening and readiness.  The reason it feels you can't 'stop yourself' from reading the posts is because of the spiritual energy they transmit to the reader.  This is why there are people who have taken various versions of the Course since the 70's.  They've read so many lessons for so many years, yet still they are excited to get their next new lesson.  It is because of the Energy in them, which is quite palpable.

The goal of the Course is to live in the Truth of the Present Moment.  Most people have memories of their past leading up to the previous moment, and then they conveniently skip over the present moment and go right into projecting what the future will hold.  Living with the attention focused in the past and the future, we miss out on our actual life, which is always taking place in the present moment, and ONLY in the present moment.

Once we get somewhat established in the present moment, the next step is to be established in the TRUTH of the present moment.  We can be in the present moment and focused on our backache or headache, or on any of many emotions we are vulnerable to, such as worry, fear, anxiety, agitation, and so forth.  We can also be in the present while being obsessed with some thought, or some structure or patterns of thought that we can give meaning to.  All these things are temporary and passing show.  They are relative truths, but not the absolute Truth.

The TRUTH of the present moment is always the Same, and does not fluctuate or change in any way.  It is an exalted state of well-being.  Some people refer to the same experience as Love. There is no real difference between Love and Truth.

All you have to do is read two 10-page lessons a month, and apply the principles presented in your own daily life to whatever degree is possible.  With practice, more and more is possible.

In the process of the Course you will come in contact with your own true Self, which lives within you as Subjective Consciousness.  Through the lessons we come to understand and experience the Truth of that state, and learn to live in the state of the Self, which is very blissful.

Yes, it is something you have been looking for, whether you realize it or not.  Everyone looks for it sooner or later, and often we don't even realize that we're looking until what we are looking for is actually found.

My wife Kay, who helps me produce the lessons, has already sent you Lesson 1 and some info about the Course, and you will receive Lesson 2 in a couple of weeks.  Anyone interested in the Course can receive the first month as an introduction to the Course simply by stating their interest in it.
Thank you for your refreshing questions and attitude.  My guess is that you will indeed find the lessons to be just what you are looking for.

For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and the first month of the Course, write to drbutler.course@gmail.com

The Course is also available in Spanish and French.

Join us on Facebook for fun and frolic, for real-time interaction, and to participate in our ongoing dialogue with others around the world.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Purification of the Mind

Hello and welcome to this month’s blog entry.  This is a free offering for anyone interested in living in the Truth of the Present Moment.  Most people, if we were to ask them, might think they are already living in the present moment.  Yet there is often crazy stuff going on in the mind, or the emotions are in turmoil, or they are focused on some sort of physical discomfort.  Tuning in to such things may be in the present moment, but they are not the Truth of the present moment.

The Truth of the present moment is not about whether our back hurts or we are thinking crazy stuff or if we are depressed or angry or anxious or in any other emotional state.  The Truth is that which remains true at all times and places, and among all people.  The Truth does not fluctuate.  It is always the same.  It is eternally changeless.

Some might object to the suggestion that they could be thinking crazy stuff.  Perhaps you haven’t yet noticed, but the mind is pretty crazy.  My mind is crazy, and I’m sure plenty of others are in a similar predicament.  It takes a refined intellect and a great deal of discipline to go beyond the craziness.  Few people know anything about how to discipline the mind, or even what that means, and to most people the craziness seems normal.

Only the purified mind can perceive the Truth of the present moment.  The purification of the mind is a process that is consciously undertaken, and takes place over a period of time.

Most people in the world at this time have no interest in the process of mental purification.  There are always only a few who are interested in participating in their own spiritual evolution.  Most people automatically follow the dictates and patterns of the undisciplined mind, which usually only reveals the mind’s craziness.  Also people give in far too readily to negative emotions and automatic reactions relating to them.  All this has a very strong pull on our attention; it is rare to honestly open up to the elevation of the soul during this lifetime.

Something inside you attracted you to read this—something that is interested in what is going on here, which corresponds to something going on within you.  First of all, what is going on here is not primarily about the words and ideas.  There is a spiritual energy available that is awakening and elevating.  Of course, the ordinary mind is full of doubt and distrust.  Why should anyone trust what is being said here?

The only validity of what happens here is found in your own inner experience.  Either something happens or it doesn’t.  There is no reason to take anyone’s word for anything, or to accept anything on blind faith.  The Truth can easily be proven, and you can prove the Truth for yourself.  The point is to know with full certainty, and not to merely ‘believe.’

The mind of the average person is filled with untrue beliefs and assumptions.  Even most educated people simply carry around a lot of useless knowledge.  In certain Eastern scriptures this is known as ‘limited knowledge.’  It is knowledge that actually limits us, such as 'I can't do that.'  True knowledge is what can be actually proven and applicable in practical life.  There is no reason to assume anything.  Assumptions invariably lead us down the wrong path.

Reading the lessons of the Course of Training via email naturally and spontaneously purifies the mind.  Of course, it is important to apply the principles presented in your own life, and you will develop fairly quickly if you actually practice the simple exercises that are given with each lesson.

The lessons challenge the conditioned mind in unexpected ways that actually changes our inner makeup.  The mind has been conditioned ever since we learned our first words.  It began the first time we were told what something was.  This was the beginning of our indoctrination.  All our conditioning, all our beliefs, originate in words.

 In Sanskrit the power of words is referred to as matrika shakti.  It is the power of words that deludes us, and it is also the power of words that frees us.  We have already been deluded; now we are in the process leading to freedom.

One principle of Truth that every living human should know, at as early an age as possible, is that the mind is creative and that thoughts have their own power.  Thoughts lead to actions that lead to results that correspond with the nature of the originating thought.  We live in our thoughts, and we take combinations of words to be actual realities through associating them with images and pictures in the mind.

If a person does not realize that his mind is creative, he will habitually continue to recreate all the things he doesn’t like, all the things that make his life difficult.  Once we understand that the mind is creative, we become more careful about what we think.  This is the beginning of mental discipline.  The conclusion of mental discipline is Mastery.

All this is discussed in great depth in the lessons of the Course available through email.  For now, let’s look at some question and answer exchanges from last month’s ‘comments’.

   *     *

What are the marks of a spiritually mature person?”

Such a person has a still mind, or at least is able to watch the mind in action instead of identifying with it.

He or she sees all beings as sharing the same Self as his or her own inner Awareness.

He is mature enough to have left behind all mechanical reactions and habitual negative emotions.

She is established in love, and naturally and unconditionally loves all in her sphere of existence.

He is established in contentment no matter what is said or what happens around him.

She is always the same one, and no longer fluctuates among various personalities.  She is no longer a slave to the moods.

He is established in the present moment, in in his own heart, and experiences only love wherever he goes.

These are some of the marks of a spiritually mature person.

*    *     *

“I read recently in my lesson that the power of a lineage is behind certain masters, and so it is a matter of that person 'getting out of the way' so that the power of that lineage can freely flow on to people who are open and receptive.  Would you please shed some light on this subject? Thank you so much!”

A spiritual teacher without a lineage is like a professor in a university that never attended or experienced a university. There are occasional exceptions, like William Faulkner teaching writing at the University of Virginia without ever having attended a university himself, but he had mastered his craft to such a degree that no one was better qualified to teach what he taught than he was. However such people are very rare, and exceptional.

If a person has his or her own Teacher, who in turn had his or her own Teacher, the teachings and the Shakti (Spiritual Energy) of that lineage is passed through those who are designated to pass it on to others. The lineage goes back a long time; it wasn't just started up a few weeks back. A true lineage goes back to ancient times.

If a person has no lineage, no Teacher who held him accountable to the purity of the teachings and practices of the lineage, then he can teach anything that comes off the top of his head, and delude himself into thinking he is teaching the Truth.  Sadly this happens too often.  Maybe some receptive people will still gain some clarity from even this much, if the teacher is sincere and a good communicator.  Still, he can take a student only as far as he himself has developed.

Attunement to the lineage opens us to a great Shakti, which is palpably transforming.  It is a Spiritual Energy that initiates, awakens, deepens, expands, and elevates.  A true Teacher is like a lit candle lighting unlit candles.  Much more than mere words and ideas are required for spiritual awakening and transformation.  What is passed on is the Spiritual Energy of the lineage itself. This happens in a spontaneous way, and takes place primarily within the circumstances and situations of one's own life.

         *    *

“I recently noticed while reading my current lessons, that I often think, "Oh, so and so is so like that.  They would really benefit from this."  I am very curious about this dialogue I have with myself.  I am not sure where it exactly comes from. Is it off the idea that we see in other what we pssess ourselves?”

For a long time we see the principles of Truth as things that obviously apply to others in our karmic sphere.  Especially when one is a relative beginner, the ego comes up with all the various people in our lives that we wish understood and practiced such exalted ideas.

As we mature spiritually, we understand that the principles primarily need to be understood and practiced by us.  As the ego's power decreases, we begin to see that others are primarily reflections of our own Self, or that everyone simultaneously shares the same Self or inner Awareness.

It is particularly easy for the ego to see in others traits and qualities that he himself has, but which he largely denies or remains blind to.  When he or she learns of what needs to be done, instead of actually doing it, he or she wishes that others were doing it.  Eventually we come to understand that we are the only one that can understand and apply the principles.

When we change inside, we see the world and others differently.

"My how you've changed since I changed."

        *     *

“What is a 'spiritual' person?  How does a 'spiritual' person live, and how shouldn't they live?”

In the last 30 years or so, my ideas of spirituality have changed quite a bit. Now my 'spiritual' person would see the same Consciousness appearing as everything, would live in a state of equanimity, and would experience love in all situations and among all people.

So, just using that as qualities of a 'spiritual' person, how do we know whether someone has them or not?  A person can act totally outrageous and still see it all as the play of Consciousness, remain in inner equanimity, and abide in a state of love.

Nothing about a person's appearance or actions indicates whether he is a 'spiritual' person or not.  If he has a beatific smile, always outwardly demonstrates his love, and is pious in any way, you can be sure he is nothing close to a 'spiritual' person.  He is simply a show, a costume.

Ultimately, everyone is a 'spiritual' person.  Everyone has Spirit in their heart.  In fact, we all share the same Spirit.  Living in this awareness is as 'spiritual' as we can be.

For information about the Course written by D. R. Butler, and a free month, write to drbutler.course@gmail.com.   The Course is also available in Spanish and French.