I was just out in the field on the hill behind our home here in the
"Endless Mountain Region" of NE PA, and the full moon was so bright that we could walk about in the field, and see all the way across it as though it was daylight. In fact, the light reflected from the moon at this particular time was so bright that it seemed to enter into the very top of my head, filling first my head and then my heart and finally my entire body with this blissful, radiant light. There was a distinct feeling that I was being uplifted and elevated in some new way, although my mind doesn't have any idea yet exactly what that might mean. I just thought I would come inside and share it with you in real time on the blog. To tell the truth, I am still simply flabbergasted that we can actually meet this way in real time.
This blog serves as a space that anyone in the world can visit online to tune into positive energy. In fact, anyone can not only read everything that's been written to this point, but they can also post their comments unedited in the "comments" section below each entry of the blog. I only ask that they not be negative in nature, and that the writer is at least willing to come back into the present moment and to the heart if the comment persists in exclusively discussing the past. I do my best to learn from the past, but I am not interested in rehashing it with anyone. The past is dead. Life exists only in the present moment.
The blog also serves as the introduction to my online Course of Training. The lessons of the course are for people who wish to investigate the Truth more deeply than we can do in a blog. They are also for those who are truly sincere about doing the work of the present moment, and who are willing to do the work necessary to come back into conscious alignment with and attunement to the universal Consciousness we know by many names and terms, including our own inner Self.
New readers to the blog might want to check the original entry, now at the bottom of the blog, which is currently titled "Introduction." At the end of that entry can be found a list of subjects and topics that will be covered in the lessons of the course that is available through email.
Those taking the course are to consider the ongoing blog to be a part of the course itself. In the "comments" area following each entry of the blog we can participate in an ongoing interaction, with people's experiences of the course or blog, and with questions and answers.
When I was in the field on the back hill a few minutes earlier, I had the awareness that it was a very special and powerful time, and suddenly it seemed as though this incredible light and energy was entering into me from above. As my being filled with this new experience of light and energy, there was such a strong awareness of this being the time for a new awakening.
For some people, obviously, it is the initial awakening needed to begin conscious work on the spiritual path. For others, who might have practiced their own path faithfully for many years, it is a time of "new" awakening of something not previously awakened--an awakening to something absolutely "new" regardless of what level of understanding we might have previously attained.
People who read this who feel that they "already know" the principles discussed, and that there is nothing new to understand, and no new level on which to understand one's knowledge--which is the development of true wisdom--will miss out on the opportunity to create a new possibility.
No matter how far we have come, no matter what we have already attained, there is still more to learn, more to understand, and higher levels on which to understand what we already know. Some of us are too proud of our education, or of our position in worldly life, or of all that we have already accomplished through years of study and practice, to be open for the next new step. Fortunately for them, they have forever to decide to open up for the next new step. No one is pushing them or waiting for them. Universal Consciousness has infinite patience as well as infinite compassion. So everyone can take all the time in the world to participate in their own spiritual awakening.
For those of us who feel that there is still more to learn, more to understand, and more wisdom to be uncovered, then we will continue on with the course. In the "comments" from the previous entry there were some great questions and answers, and I will use some of them in the remainder of this entry. There will also be new questions and answers not yet published, as well as possible expansions upon the original answers.
So now the questions and answers:
Megan: I have recently reread the original entry of the blog from July, now titled "Introduction," and I am drawn to this particular paragraph that fascinated me the first time I read it. In that entry you wrote:
The sparkling inner feeling is palpable—others can easily sense it. It is contagious--others will feel good by simply being around us, without having any idea why. If we maintain this great feeling within ourselves, others will pick up on it and begin to experience the same feeling within themselves. Spend some time with a cheerful person, and see how much better you feel afterwards. Then spend some time with a depressed or angry person, and see how much worse you feel. There is a definite, distinguishable difference.
I know that there is truth to what you write, and I would love to know more about it. I know that I feel better after being with someone who feels good, and that I feel worse after being with someone who feels bad, but I never made the connection that it is a very real vibrational energy that we are affected by. At least this is what I understand after reading and rereading the first 3 lessons of the course. Can you talk more about it in the blog so that everyone can see your answer? I have special reasons for this, as I have some friends that I have not been able to talk into taking the course with me yet, so maybe the next time they read the blog I can trick them into reading about the impact of feelings on others.
DRB: That is very funny, Megan. At least you are honest regarding your motives. And it is great to wish that others were aware of the impact of their feelings on others. However, it is even greater to make sure that we ourselves are aware of the impact our feelings have on others. Your own practice of the principle will prove to be infinitely more important than whether your friends realize the impact of their feelings on others or not.
One of the main things that happens to people when they begin work for conscious development is that they start wishing 'other people' understood and practiced the principles, yet they are not willing to actually apply the teachings themselves. Instead they are filled with blame, constantly making their loved ones wrong about the simplest things, being hostile and defensive while having no conscious awareness of it whatsoever. Some people are almost constantly disrespectful to others, and especially to the very ones they claim to love most, yet they are quick to blame everyone else for the lack of respect they are shown themselves.
Rightfully speaking, we are not the recipient of respect; we are the source of respect.
Oh, the mind and ego play amazing games. We spend most of the first year of the course focusing on the many games of the mind and ego, and how the tandem of mind and ego describes the world as we believe it to be, and then identifies with its own creation as a reality. Most people do not realize that they live in their own mental creations. Most folks actually take their thoughts very seriously, and would hardly even be willing to consider that some of their most cherished beliefs and opinions are completely erroneous.
Personally, I can't take the mind seriously anymore. Either mine or another's. No matter how wonderful or advanced or clever of a thought we manage to come up with, it's still just another thought. And no matter how terrible or negative or contracting of a thought we manage to come up with, it is still just another thought.
We need to turn deeper and identify with the Witness of the mind, the Observer of mental activity, and to stop allowing extraneous and superflueous mental and emotional activity, whether ours or another's, make us automatically act and react without even consciously realizing what we are doing. In our present condition, we are mostly puppets to external influences, for the most part unconscious of what we are actually doing, thinking, or feeling.
Anyway, back to the question, feelings are contagious, and what we are feeling at any given time radiates outward from us as a vibrational energy that is felt by others as vividly as if it were their own feeling. With this being the case, it is only a matter of common sense and good taste to live with a pleasant and positive feeling. Going through life with a negative feeling is about the most adharmic (against righteousness) way we can live. It is like dumping toxic wastes into the world around us, except it is toxic emotional energy, which actually does exist and which really does affect other people.
One of my favorite television programs is The Dog Whisperer, which is shown on the National Geographic Channel. The show is based around the abilities of a man named Cesar Milan, who came from Mexico and began walking dogs in LA to support himself, and who has since become a great dog therapist and functions somewhat as a "guru" for dogs everywhere.
One of the main reasons I love his show, is because he presents such a positive energy, and he teaches the same principles, to a large extent, that we discuss here. He teaches in ways that apply to dogs, but also to the people who go along with those dogs. For example, he talks about how a dog primarily perceives us as energy, as our predominant feeling at the time, not by the outer show we present. The same principle is every bit as true regarding people. I have a great appreciation for the amazing work Cesar does and the amount of positive energy he brings into the world. Interestingly, the first dog I ever owned as a child was named "Cesar" as well, so perhaps there is some psychic connection--who knows about these things?
Anyway, when Cesar first came from Mexico to America, he made an interesting discovery, which is that most American dogs are unhappy. Most American dogs are unhappy because their people do not understand how to properly relate to them, communicate with them, or be with them, and so on. Some dogs are unhappy simply because they don't get enough exercise, just like a lot of people.
Then Cesar made another fascinating discovery: he saw that if he put a depressed and neurotic American dog with a naturally happy and playful Mexican dog, the American dog quickly became happy and playful as well. The American dog could actually change his feeling simply by being in the presence of the happy and balanced Mexican dog.
The same happens with people all the time. We emit vibrations with our feelings, and dogs and cats and horses and other people pick up on them far more than most of us would ever imagine. We can't hide our feelings, no matter how constrained we make ourselves appear on the outside. Feelings are felt by others as much as they are felt by us. They are simple manifestations of nervous energy, and it is this nervous energy that we go around exchanging with each other in the encounters and interactions of the day.
Cultivate a great inner feeling by focusing only on great thoughts. Then you will make the absolutely best contribution you can ever hope to make in the lives of the other people in your life.
Liz: I would like to ask you something that is very near and dear to my heart. My spiritual path is very important to me. Throughout the years of my life, I only found one way, one path, that really works for me. Yet, I have some friends and family who are very negative about my spiritual path, and seem to want to make it sound like something terrible and ugly.
What do you do when some of the people you love most turn against the spiritual path that means so very much to you? I just need some guidance, some way of understanding this so that I can deal with it. As it is, I feel like it's a constant negative onslaught when I am around them.
DRB: Well, Liz, as the saying goes, with friends like that, who needs enemies?
Anyone who puts down another's spiritual path is, in my way of thinking, the lowest kind of person. They commit the most adharmic act of all by undermining another's connection to the inner Self of all.
There will always be people who put down the great teachers, spiritual guides, and paths. It is simply the way of the world. I wrote about this in the very early lessons of the original course back in 1975. There are always those who will be quick to criticize, persecute, and cruxify those who dare to teach the Truth.
It goes back to the "pearls before swine" quote in the Bible. We really have to be careful what level of teachings we present in a public way. If we reveal too much spiritual light and wisdom, those lower on the evolutionary chain will tend to attack us and do their best to discredit us and bring us down to their own level. It is the "misery loves company" phenomenon in action. Unhappy people are almost personally offended by those who are happy, especially if they dare to be happy in the presence of one who is celebrating and honoring his own unhappiness.
Such persecution has been going on for centuries. It's certainly not going to stop now as we enter further into Kali Yuga--the cycle when most people are spiritually ignorant, but which is the very best time to do spiritual work. Something about all the spiritually ignorant people enables the ones who do genuine spiritual work (sadhana) to actually practice the teachings of their path.
It is a strange paradox, yet it is true. Even if you are working on developing and strengthening the physical body, you cannot grow without resistance. In a similar way, when we come across those who resist our path, who criticize and put down the teachings of Truth--which all great spiritual teachers have taught in their own ways--it actually creates greater opportunities for us to practice the teachings of our own path in ways that help us grow stronger in being established in our highest and deepest Self. Strangely the outer resistance makes inner growth possible. Be sure to make use of the opportunity whenever it presents itself.
When others speak badly of your spiritual path, just remind yourself, Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing. Have compassion for them. Always have compassion for ignorance. It is amazing to see how ignorant some otherwise intelligent and educated people can be. Yet, their belittling your path is something you can use for your own work and greater growth. Use that energy from them to activate your own heart energy, and simply experience your own unconditional love.
Go beyond the petty opinions of others; don't let their negativity get you down. Most people have no idea whatsoever what they are talking about, and fewer still have the capacity to think for themselves. The older you get, you more you discover just how true this is. It is absolutely amazing.
Above all things, remain true to your own heart. Follow your own path in spite of external opposition from others. If they are truly your friends and family, and you remain steadfastly attuned to your own inner heart, if they have any sense at all, they might eventually learn something great from you.
Hopefully you will be the light in their lives, instead of allowing them to be the darkness in yours.
Rosemary: I was just thinking - it might be interesting and very timely if you would consider posting some detailed comments for us regarding the crashing stock market and failing economy in this country. I did see you mentioned it being a karmic situation, but I think a lot of us would love to read in more detail any thoughts you might have (as you always seem to pin things down to the most important cause) about this - such as when you see the financial crisis and stock market problems easing up, etc. This situation is probably impacting a lot of us very very personally. I know I have been having a hard time dealing with it emotionally, as everything I have is in the Market. And I'll bet I'm not the only blogger here thinking this way. Your insights are always so to the point and filled with great wisdom and truth. I'd love to hear your take on this situation.
DRB: I recommend very strongly that you follow the "news" as covered by the media as an interesting movie, without getting personally involved in the constant fluctuations. The outer world will never appear perfectly balanced and harmonious; we can only find these qualities on the inside. The outer world can never present us with stillness and stability; these qualities have to be found on the inside. The outer world will never give us reasons to feel safe and secure; we can only find these reasons on the inside.
Even if all your funds are in the stock market, simply sit back and relax for the wild ride. It will go up and down forever. Do not allow the outer fluctuations of the world to affect your inner state. Remain still and steady on the inside--steadfastly focused in the eye of the hurricane, watching turmoil and disruption around you in the world and in others, yet remaining unaffected and in a state of supreme equanimity. We might not be able to accomplish this simply by deciding to do so, but we can certainly work in this direction.
Simply know that you are cared for. Thank your infinite Father every day for his (Its) care and guidance of you and yours. Join with all of us as a community every day at sunset wherever you are, and feel gratitude for all God's care and guidance in all our ways. A heartfelt gratitude for all the goodness in life is all that is required to join with the rest of us, and in mass affirmation there is great power.
In the lessons of the course we will discuss fully how to develop and maintain a prosperity consciousness regardless of what is going on outside. We will discover sooner or later that once we are conscious of prosperity, we could not experience any other condition.
First causes lies in consciousness. What we think is what we get.
Be still and know that "I" (the inner "I" within each of us) AM the Light (that guides and cares for us in all our ways.) Become good friends with your own resplendent eternal Self, and the jugglings of the media, which exists primarily to attract your commercial compliance to those who pay huge amounts of money for their advertisements, will never disturb your state again.
Stay awake, alert, and vigilant. There is more going on than what appears to be, and very little is in truth exactly as it appears. We will learn much more about the true nature of this world and how to constructively live in it as we go through the lessons.
Nancy: My husband and I are reading Lesson 3 together now—he sometimes reads aloud to me and we also each refer to our current lesson regularly, if only for a paragraph, or however long it takes to tune in to the greater reality—and we both make a real attempt to keep up with what’s going on in the blog community (of which you told us somewhere recently that the blog and the lessons are both part of a greater whole, and that it is part of the Course to keep up with the blog).
Anyway, here’s my question:
In lesson 2 was it? You said the husband and wife could say to each other…. “Come back to the moment; come back to our love,” and when I extended that invitation, during a moment of some ruffled feathers, the “other” said “That’s an insult! Don’t you get how you have to be seeing me in a limited way to even say that? It’s disrespectful to assume that I am not in the moment…” and stuff to that effect.
It seemed like such a wonderful pact to make with ourselves and with each other—“Let’s not just take the Course this time; let’s really do the Course; let’s really live it”—and I’m having the time of my life with him doing just that—returning again and again to the Truth of the present moment inside myself.
However, and it’s a big however, isn’t it okay to live it on that level too, the level where we’re husband and wife and doing our Course together and this is what it says in the Course so it’s not only acceptable but preferable if we celebrate every attempt to put it into practice on any level, even the “couples” level…?
If you can hear my question in that, I’d appreciate (and I’m sure other couples taking the Course together would appreciate) understanding why my sweet and loving (as sweet and loving as I could possibly make it in that moment when we had been less than sweet and loving) request to come back to the heart, back to our love, did not seem to work for us the way you suggeted it might.
I was making, I felt, a real effort to be together with him in that space again—sweet and loving and sincere request to “come back to the present moment, come back to me, come back to our love” said with as much warmth as I could muster—what’s a girl to do to get her hubby back during those times when he seems to have forgotten the agreement to respond to that request to come back to the Self, share the moment and heal whatever rift is there by forgiving and forgetting everything all the time.
Again, I absolutely love the Course and everything about it and I’m basking in gratitude this moment. Thank you Father, for hearing me…
DRB: A few days after receiving this question from Nancy, when I had not yet responded, she wrote to confess that the very next time her husband said to her, "Come back to the moment, come back to the heart," she retorted nastily, "That's easy for you to say."
She wrote: "My husband only smiled, and suddenly I knew I had been caught, and that I had sprung my own trap. I had made a big deal of writing you that question about his lack of a positive response, and then the very next time I had an opportunity to respond in the way that I had hoped he would respond, I myself reacted like a jerk."
First I want to say that Nancy and her husband are excellent examples of a couple doing sadhana together, doing the work of the present moment together. Nothing is as rich for spiritual work and growth of the soul than a day-to-day real-life relationship. For years both of them have shared from time to time how the ancient principles discussed in the course have such practical applications in their own marriage. I wish more couples would read the course together, and discuss the principles together, and apply them in a real way in the dynamics of their own relationship.
If you are in relationship with someone, I strongly recommend incorporating the study and practice of the principles as a vital aspect of the relationship, to whatever degree is practical in your own situation.
Maintaining the harmony, peace, love, and respect of the relationship is as great a sadhana, as great a spiritual path, as there is. In a relationship, there are never-ending opportunities to come back to the present, come back to the heart, come back to your love.
The egos involved constantly bump against each other, react to each other, blame each other, and on and on. It takes constant work to make a relationship work and to keep it alive in the present moment. It is a great path, a great spiritual discipline, simply to go beyond the ego enough to make the relationship work.
One thing Nancy made a point of mentioning several different times in her original question, was how "sweet" and "nice" and "loving" and "sincere" and filled with "warmth" her request to return to the moment was. In fact, she mentioned how "sweet and loving" she was three different times.
This sent up a red flag for me. If she was so sweet and loving and filled with warmth, why was she making such a point about it? Who was she trying to convince, anyway?
It is very easily possible to be sweet and loving and sincere and nice and filled with warmth, and still quite anchored in one's own ego. In fact, it is very common for people to be outwardly "sweet and loving" while inwardly being very manipulative and controlling.
Kay and I were having our own conversation last night, and I mentioned to her--for some reason, I actually can't remember the context--that being hostile and being reactive are two different things. Being one does not necessarily mean that we will be the other as well.
We can be egotistical and reactive, and yet outwardly maintain a "sweet and loving" front. We can also be hostile while outwardly appearing "sweet and loving." By now I must have mentioned the term even more than Nancy.
We can be reactive and hostile at the same time, and they often do go together; yet we can also be one or the other while outwardly apearing "sweet and loving." We can be subtly manipulative and controlling, while wearing a very pleasant outer facade.
We can also be very loving and compassionate while outwardly appearing grumpy or stern or anything else. "Tough love" is not only very real but is absolutely essential on the spiritual path, and we cannot make real progress without it. We cannot grow spiritually if everyone is outwardly sweet and nice to us. We need to learn to understand things in the right way, especially where work on the ego is concerned.
Outward appearances cannot be trusted when it comes to what anyone is actually thinking or feeling, and we especially cannot tell what kind of state another person is in simply by how he outwardly appears or acts at any particular moment. We will gradually learn how to see through appearances.
This is one reason that we need to learn to relate through subtle identities instead of egos based on identification with the physical body. We will learn about this in the lessons of the course. There will also be a whole section of the course devoted to exploring the dynamics of relationships.
Anyway, based on the follow-up communication from Nancy after writing her question, you can see what a queasy foundation many of us have. We think we have a firm footing in something significant, and then the next day we are thrown totally off balance. She wrote a whole letter asking why her husband didn't respond positively when she "sweetly and lovingly" asked him to return to the present and the heart, and then the very next time he reminded her of the same exact thing, she disrespectfully replied, "That's easy for you to say."
This story just says it all. It's so rich we could all contemplate it for days and get more and more insights each time we think of it.
Anyway, her husband responded to her "sweet and loving" suggestion by saying, to quote Nancy, “That’s an insult! Don’t you get how you have to be seeing me in a limited way to even say that? It’s disrespectful to assume that I am not in the moment…”
What if...just for the sake of exploring potential alternate realities...he was being totally truthful and honest in his response? What if, just to consider another possibility, he was the one in the moment and in the heart, and Nancy was the one in some egotistical melodrama based around making him wrong?
Remember, there are an infinite number of ways to describe any situation, and however we describe the situation to ourselves will determine our perception and experience of it. In this way we create our own life as we move through from one moment to the next. What we think is what we get.
Let's conclude with the simple reminder to always see the highest in each other, regardless of what might momentarily be happening on a physical, emotional, mental, or melodramatic level. All levels are true simultaneously, and we don't have to concern ourselves with figuring out which is more real than another. They are all relatively real.
Our experience is determined by how we focus our attention, not by anything or anyone external to us.
See your partner as you want him to be, see the highest in him, feel your gratitude for being allowed to share life with someone so wonderful, and you might be amazed at how quickly and completely he improves for the better.
This concludes our discussion for today. Those who take the course are also getting a new lesson today. Please enjoy it; it is offered with great love and humility.
I will see you here again in two weeks, and in the meantime please keep up with the "comments" sure to follow this current entry, as we are certain to come upon many more great questions and answers. Enjoy the next two weeks to the fullest you are able, and others will appreciate the pleasant energies you add to their lives by doing so.
For more information about D. R. Butler's new Course of Training offered by email, please write: firstname.lastname@example.org