Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Cheer

I’ve spent some time reviewing everything that’s been written in the blog before now, including the questions and answers in the comments. I can hardly believe the great variety of information and inspiration that is contained here. It’s like a whole course in itself, and the comments are the spontaneous dialogue arising as we progress together on the path to ultimate freedom--offered here for the benefit of all that are open and ready.

I was surprised at how long some of the entries were. Once I get going….some of you must really persevere in order to get through a whole entry, much less more than one. Practically speaking, I should just recommend that everyone read the whole thing again from the beginning, and that would surely be enough for anyone; yet some people like something new, something up-to-date. So here we are, all meeting in the same space around the same general time; and our meeting in that subtle space is the primary happening.

I wonder how many people have actually read the whole blog? Am I the only one?

If you are new here, I recommend reading any and all of the past entries since the blog began, and you will find that the comments following each entry include many insightful questions with answers regarding applying the principles of Truth to the practical details of everyday life. Every entry of the blog is as timely now as it was at the time it was first posted.

December is the holiday season, and it is an excellent time to practice lightheartedness and cheerfulness. Many people are disheartened these days by certain downward cycles in the external world. They walk around with worry and anxiety on their faces, coupled with all the anger they keep buried in their psyches—angry at life and the hand they were dealt, at everyone around them for, mostly, just being themselves, and even angry at the weather. If they are driving and another car passes them, they get angry. Who does he think he is?

We are so quick to be offended by any imagined slight, and then we justify our anger. Of course I’m angry, look at what he said to me. As though Jesus Christ himself would be angry if anyone had said or done the same thing.

Please do not think it is natural to be this way. It might be normal to be this way; it is the human condition, after all. Still, with the recognition and application of the principles of Truth in each new present moment, we can burst free from the confines of habitual, contracted thoughts and emotions, and begin to glimpse the glory of the light and love that lie eternally within us.

The natural way for a human being to live is with gratitude and appreciation for all of God’s gifts, with optimism regarding the future, with great cheer and lightheartedness, and with unconditional love and compassion for all beings in his or her psychic sphere. These days our sphere of experience and influence includes cyberspace, something unimagined just a few years back. Otherwise there would be no blog.

Celebrate your holidays with great love. Love your Self, and recognize and love that same Self in all those around you. This is the true way to celebrate—absorbed in love and appreciating all beings for being exactly as they are.

Enjoy your meals together with great joy, with lighthearted conversation and much laughter. Everyone will feel uplifted afterwards, and even digestion will be improved.

This is also a time of giving, of freely offering what you have to share with those in your lives. Sometimes it feels challenging to give when we feel we hardly have enough as it is, yet through the act of giving we open ourselves up to receive even more from the universe. It is only through giving that we can receive, and we receive much more than we give. It is the act of offering that initiates the opening.

Many of us do not understand how constricted we are when it comes to receiving. Many, from various aspects of past conditioning, don’t feel like we deserve anything really good, or that we are worthy of very much. This is because we don’t recognize or appreciate the divine Being that occupies this shell of a body. If we knew Who was actually in here, we’d naturally love and worship our own Self all the time. In this way we live in perfect contentment and bliss.

Through giving, we come in conscious contact with that higher aspect of ourselves that is capable of giving something worthwhile to others. This awakens us to the very best of ourselves, and through practice we naturally live in this way.

When we feel we have to cling to what little we have, we close ourselves off from all the magnificent offerings the universe has in store for us. When we cannot give, we are also incapable of receiving. The door has been shut.

As Saint Francis of Assisi said, "Remember that when you leave this Earth, you do not take with you what you have received, only what you gave away."

We are concluding the year 2009. Let’s go out living and loving and giving it our best shot in all ways. Let’s go out being our best and brightest, and offering the best we have within us to all those with whom we come in contact.

In certain cultures it is felt that the way we end one year is how we start the next, and how we start the next year has a great influence on how the whole year will go.

For the rest of 2009, let’s be loving, laughing, and a little bit loony. Remember, only the ego takes anything seriously, and taking ourselves seriously is the greatest folly of all. Let’s go out the old year playfully, and enter the approaching new year as the oncoming of the greatest play yet.

We receive many letters and emails from people around the world who report how much they are gaining from the lessons through email. Since we launched the course over a year ago, there have been new groups of participants to begin each and every month. We do not advertise, yet somehow the word is spreading. Expansion by word of mouth is truly the best way, for it is organic, from the inside out.

I am looking forward to seeing who the final participants to begin in 2009 will be, and who will be among the first group of 2010. What a great future we have to look forward to. There is much to share. No matter how far we have come before now, there is always the next step, and by its very nature it is always surprising and totally unpredictable.

Remember that the greatest Truth of all is the simple Truth of the present moment. Be present now, bring your attention to the existing moment, and learn to live in that subtle space between thoughts. The activity of the mind is not nearly as interesting as we have always presumed. More than anything else, it is agitating.

Love everything unconditionally, including yourself—all the movements of your mind and emotions—and through practicing love become an embodiment of love. When we leave this world and this body with the final exhalation, all that will be remembered of us is how much love we shared, how much we gave. All else was irrelevant, no matter what we think we did or did not accomplish in this lifetime. In the end, how much love we shared with others while we were here is all that will matter in the least.

I send you my very best, and all the love of my heart is offered openly and freely. Happy Holidays to everyone.

For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and available by email, write: drbutler.course@gmail.com

For Spanish, write: drbutler.cursoesp@gmail.com

43 comments:

Sea Goddess Treasures said...

Holiday Loony Thanks for keeping us all in the ever present here and now and your holiday contemplation is a stunner!! Give yourself the gift of enlightenment this year!! Why ever not? Loving enlightened auspicious grace to you and all the readers of your course and blog! May the real self, the auspicious self be revealed through the layers of our body from the heart and mind outward, radiating this light to all this next year :) 2010

William said...

If everyone who took your course gave it as a Christmas gift to at least one other person, the enrollment of the course would double. That sounds so simple. I love the course so much that I want to find ways to market it. Is there anything wrong with this way of thinking?

D. R. Butler said...

I guess we should put you in charge of marketing, William. Actually, though, I am happy with expansion through word of mouth. I'm not too concerned about increasing the numbers of people who take the course just to have higher numbers. I don't think of the course in that way--as something to sell to people. The course speaks to some people like it is their own inner voice, yet to others it just isn't their cup of tea.

It's not just a matter of chance that one takes the course. Very deep inner connections exist in order for one to even come in contact with the course, and those for whom the course is meant will immediately recognize it when they find it.

I appreciate your wanting more people to share in your experience of the course. New people do begin the course every month. And almost all are either through word of mouth or from having received it as a gift from a current participant.

Ultimately, the growth of the course is in the hands of a much greater Intelligence than our meager attempts at marketing. We each do what we can, and the rest is left up to the grand design of the universe.

I assure you that everyone who is supposed to take the course will come across it sooner or later.

The rest are also in good hands, so we don't have to worry about anyone. The most we can do is practice the principles of Truth in our own life from one moment to the next.

Cherie said...

Thanks for finding me on Facebook. It’s nice to see pictures of you.

I have some questions…
I was rereading Lesson 13 and came across this section:
“Although I recognize the physical reality of back pain, I certainly don’t go around thinking about it. I wouldn’t go around telling anyone about it. I definitely wouldn’t focus my attention on it,
as that would be feeding it creative energy, and why would I want to do that? I learned a long time ago not to think about what I don’t want. If I think, I think thoughts that are pleasant and have a nice feeling to them. If I fail in this, I am soon reminded in one way or another that I have gone off-track.”

Do you think there is value in processing and understanding the negative feelings that come from experiences such as sudden losses of family members? I’m curious of your perspective on the psychological processes for coming into places of clarity and inner freedom from experiences of trauma that are out of a person’s control.

This question came out after I read “I definitely wouldn’t focus my attention on it… I learned a long time ago not to think about what I don’t want. If I think, I think thoughts that are pleasant and have a nice feeling to them. If I fail in this, I am soon reminded in one way or another that I have gone off-track.”

Doesn’t this entire process that you are negating here help develop awareness of our behavior and thus contributes towards wisdom? I mean if we don’t go through the pain and seek to understand it, then a person might appear to be avoiding feelings that may be causing unconscious actions and behaviors that are out of the context of greater awareness of personal growth and understanding. Does this make sense?

D. R. Butler said...

Cherie, I have no intentions of negating anything. I simply said that one of the primary lessons I have learned in life is to think only about what is pleasant and to refuse to consider what is unpleasant. The underlying reason for this is that thoughts create our reality. If we are to think at all, and knowing that thought is creative, why not think of what we actually prefer instead of thinking of what we don't want?

This process in no way negates anything except perhaps unnecessary negative emotions that arise from negative thinking.

You mentioned the loss of loved ones, which seems to be the crux of your question. Grief is not really considered to be a negative emotion. It is a very natural feeling that must, as you say, be processed. To stuff this feeling, and to refuse to go through the grieving process, leads to emotional and psychological problems in the future.

The two primary feelings that must not be simply buried and ignored are anger and grief. We have to go through the process of coming into harmony with these two feelings.

There is no conflict or contradiction here though. They are two different things. Everything is related to everything else, but it is important to understand the right relationships between things.

Thanks for your question. I hope my comments are helpful.

Shauna said...

Dear DR: In my current lesson you quote from an ancient text: "The conditioned mind is bondage; liberation is freedom from conditioning (inner contact, attachment, or identification). This inner contact (which presupposes fictitious division) alone is the cause for bondage and liberation."

After contemplation, I still don't get the meaning of "inner contact" in this context. Can you comment?

The course is my mainstay, as ever.

D. R. Butler said...

Shauna, the quote you mention is from the Yoga Vasishtha, one of my favorite of the ancient texts. I am a little shy when it comes to trying to explain what a particular verse in the scriptures might mean. It feels almost like anything I said would be diluting it somehow. The words of the scriptures are so clear and pristine as they are.

The quote says, "The conditioned mind is bondage; liberation is freedom from conditioning (inner contact, attachment, or identification). This inner contact (which presupposes fictitious division) alone is the cause for bondage and liberation."

So the sage says that liberation is freedom from 3 things: 1) inner contact; 2) attachments; and 3) identification.

We have explored attachments and identification quite extensively in the lessons. Most seekers (and finders) are familiar with their meanings. But what is meant by "inner contact?"

Speaking of inner contact, Vasishtha says that it, "presupposes fictitious division."

Now we need to contemplate what is meant by "presupposing fictitious division." Obviously it is something important to be included among the 3 factors that make up conditioning.

Fictional division must be a division that does not actually exist; it is fictional.

In fact, since there is ultimately only One of us, and we are all manifestations or expressions of the same Consciousness, or Infinite Omnipresence, there is not really "another" to contact. To suppose that there is another to contact is to create a fictitious division.

Ultimately all Consciousness dwells within as our own Self. The fact that it also pervades and permeates the Cosmos is another aspect of the Truth; yet we can only experience it within as our inner Awareness of Being.

There is no "other" to experience contact with, or to seek contact with. All we see out there is the mirror of our own Self. The only possible true contact is a conscious alignment with and attunement to the living presence of the inner Self. Once we contact our own Self, we will be quite fulfilled and content.

Sea Goddess Treasures said...

Fictitious Division is a divine contemplation...Like Candy it is so sweet....

1. Fictitious Division reminds me of the Beatles Song "Within You and Without You" ...is this was John Lennon and Paul McCartney were singing about?

2. Then there is the Meditation Dharana 76 from the Vijnana-Bhairava (The Yoga of Delight, Wonder, and Astonishment)( a tantric Shavite text) "All Knowledge is without cause, without base, and deception. From the point of view of absolute reality, this knowledge does not belong to any one person. When one is given wholly to this contemplation, then, oh dear one, one becomes Shiva"
... in other words,,, fictitious division may be the same as without cause, base, or deception....??

3. In the Guru Gita, verse 62, Shiva tells us that the principle of absolute reality "moves and moves not. It is far as well as near...it in inside everything as well as outside everything"...

It seems to me that when contemplating fictitious division or meditating on its meaning, the mind just stops and hovers in bliss. Exquisite!

Thanks for the opportunity to talk about this...the feeling of this bliss...hovering...its the feeling...that is where the energy of the self grows within. Very powerful stuff!

Christobal said...

I just wanted to comment on Cherie's statement about grief. As DR pointed out, grief is not a negative emotion. I would like to share a little bit I have learned about emotions in my studies.

While grief may seem unpleasant, as a matter of fact, grief is a great blessing that enables us to wash clean and purify ourselves. When we lose something of great value, we must experience grief in order to be able to move on and allow the new to enter into our lives. Grief arises in the present moment to allow us to express the value of that which we have lost, and to *let go* of it. This is grief in it's "authentic present" state.

Similarly, anger has a valid purpose in life if it arises in response to a situation in which it is appropriate. For example, you are waiting in line at the store and someone steps on your foot. Rather than thinking "It is unpleasant/negative that this person just stepped on my foot, therefore I will not think about it", one can say "Hey buddy, don't step on my foot!" Anger creates a boundary when it is appropriate to do so. This would be an expression of "authentic present" anger related to a situation that is at hand.

One could also talk of Fear in the authentic present state. If you're hiking in Alaska and all of a sudden you see a bull moose charging at you, this is an appropriate thing to feel fear about. Get yourself up the nearest tree! Fear creates the energetic response that allows one to move oneself out of danger. This is "authentic present" fear. It is an appropriate response to a situation that is arising in the present moment.

There are situations in which grief, anger and fear arise out of context. In these situations it can be the case that it is the reactivity of a samskara, in which the mind replays a scenario from the past or creates anxiety about some anticipated future event. In this situation one should follow DR's advice to not think of that which is "unpleasant". Another way to phrase it would be to not think of that which triggers an emotional expression that is not an "authentic present" response to a situation that has arisen in the present moment.

I am expressing some ideas that I have learned from my study of 5-element Chinese medicine, which has its origins in the roots of Taoism. This is a bit different from the predominately yogic perspective of this course & blog, but as DR has stated, the Truth holds all perspectives simultaneously. We can retain our awareness of our Oneness while still having an appropriate response and expression of life energies in the present moment.

With Love,
Cristobal

JP said...

I find grief to be puzzling, unpredictable. It sneaks up and pounces. Often I will be the last to know I am grieving. Aside from getting caught off guard, I don't fear or have any aversion to experiencing grief. In fact, I honor it as a divine intervention - it purifies my thinking, renews my perspective, refocuses me on the potency of the moment.

I wish I could say the same about anger, but for me that is more like playing fetch with a dog that won't let go of the stick.

Here's a quote I stumbled on a few minutes ago - when I saw it I thought it was relevant to the conversation here...

"you cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head
but you can prevent their making a nest in your hair"
- chinese proverb

Thanks, D.R. and happy holidays
JP

Cristóbal said...

Dear DR,

I have been thoroughly enjoying my current lesson theme which is "What you think is what you get". I have a question and a request:

Question: It seems to me that many new age teachers put forth the idea that one can use this creative power of the mind in order to get whatever one wants. This seems to me to be a perversion of the teachings, in which "what you think is what you get" becomes "by controlling thoughts, one can get what one wants". This seems to me to be a sneaky way that the mind can try to assert its dominance and control over the world, and leaves out the Divine and the laws of karma. From your perspective, can you comment on the difference between these two viewpoints, if there is a difference.


My request also concerns the idea of "What you think is what you get". I have lately been enjoying reviewing my understanding of Shaivism, and realizing that proper understanding of this philosophical system holds the potential for me to deepen my sadhana even in the midst of a very busy life. Can you give some scriptural references that would allow me to explore this teaching from the perspective of the Shaivite scriptures?

Many thanks,
Cristobal

D. R. Butler said...

I came upon this principle of the creative nature of the mind almost exactly 50 years ago. After all this time, I find that the whole idea is best summed up as "What You Think is What You Get," which as you mention is one of the first sections of the course by email. It basically means that you create your personal, moment-to-moment reality by your habitual thoughts and predominant mental attitude--therefore what you think is what you get.

What you say is true, however. This principle has been very perverted over the years, and has been presented as an allurement to the ego. Basically, only the ego wants to create its desires into reality. The inner Self always remains in the same state of contentment no matter what is happening outside--it can't be improved.

Only the ego goes around with this relentless desire to improve everything.

One who knows the Truth sees the perfection in everything as it is.

Kashmir Shaivism is a sublime philosophy. I had once thought of it as just another Eastern philosophy, but in my visits to India, and even giving talks in Bombay to people who wanted to learn about yoga and meditation, I discovered that most Indians had no more awareness of Kashmir Shaivism than most Westerners.

Now, there's even some pretty good stuff about Kashmir Shaivism on the Internet, and you can even get a PH.D in Kashmir Shaivism from certain universities. You might enjoy looking it up on the Internet and seeing some of the more concise expressions of what it is.

If you want to explore the texts of Kashmir Shaivism, I recommend "The Shiva Sutras," "The Pratyabhijnahrdayam," (The Doctrine of Recognition) the "Vijnana Bharvana," and "The Spanda Karikas." You can spend the rest of your life digging into them. Jaideva Singh has written very good interpretations and commentaries of these texts, and presents a meaty introduction that presents Kashmir Shaivism in its most concise and clear form available in the English language. Best wishes on your studies.

Michael said...

Hey Friends:

I was reflecting on how best to apply the principles of Conscious Intent, Attention and Will in order to upgrade the quality of my experience.

I started by examining what it means to refute the evidence of the senses, which appears to have been conceived or created a long time ago, and which now manifests as my karma. I may not be able to change it per se, but I can apply these principles at any time to upgrade the manner in which I perceive and approach this karma.

Many years ago D.R. specified three distinct applications to upgrade our experience, which now take on a new meaning in light of these most recent principles he has explored in the lessons:

Expand the perspective.
Lighten the approach.
Uplift the attitude.

I can formulate this intention: "I will apply my will in the present moment to maintain an Expanded Perspective, a Light Approach, and an Uplifting Attitude toward my karma."

With great love to you and yours this holiday season,

Michael

Melissa said...

Cristobal has a very interesting and astute observation about what many new age teachers have turned in the phrase “What you think is what you get” into a “free for all” of laws of attraction and the wizardry of attracting wealth and prosperity into one’s life.

This being segwayed into a question about Kashmir Shaivism and its teachings is like jumping all the spiritual hurdles that get thrown your way on the spiritual path and jumping into the pit of pure unadulterated truth! Bravo!

So in the questions and answers that DR gives about the self never having to change itself and always being itself and the recognition of the self as the purest form of identification NO MATTER WHAT begs further contemplation and deeper investigation. Why you ask, the question was asked and answered in a complete form. The reason I want to delve deeper into this is because it is the sweetest gift. The best Merry Christmas Present ever. The truth of the Merry Christmas Present Moment! I just plain want to unwrap the gift!

So back to Kashmir Shaivism…..When contemplating ways to contemplate or wondering about “what you think is what you get”, I recommend the book called, “Yoga of Delight, Wonder, and Astonishment “or the “Vijnana Bhairava” is a total go-to text for all your questions and insights. The book is a collection 112 meditations or dharanas for experiencing the “inner self” or the unbounded consciousness of what is known as Bhairava.

This remainder is Pure Siva, Pure Gold, Pure Self…the Perfect merging into the Perfect…. So when DR says “What You Think is What You Get” and you are hanging out with and about that pure remainder self thing….this is Siva. True meditation is hanging out with, abiding with, and being with this inner self, Siva happening. It is a type of creative contemplation (or Bhavana - DR talks about Bhavana all the time, its the feeling thing) where one practicing being with the highest reality over and over again and again. It is like reciting your own reality, singing your own song, and hanging out in I-feeling land with a constant contemplation of the deity of your own inner Siva-Self.

Reading the lessons over and over and thinking all the great thoughts DR talks about all the time is a way to take your Universal Siva and Your personal Siva to hang out together and merge together and connect the Dots between conscious and unconscious.

In todays modern world, it is sometimes hard to glean the meanings of ancient texts like Kashmir Shaivism so we are really lucky to have DR addressing us in such straightforward and modern terms. In my opinion, I am not sure one has to go to the ancient texts but I can say it is sweet to do so as it confirms all of the plain and simple terms our tall man from Mississippi puts down monthly for us to read.

I can’t even begin to describe to you what a tasty Christmas Pudding these questions and answers are to me. This is the highest form of contemplation and I relish the delicious sweetness that evokes the writing of this post. I couldn’t ask for a better Holiday experience! Best Wishes All

Shive said...

Wishing you and your family a
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.
I am so grateful to have found you
again and your new course. The
experiences I am having are profound and - not to be melodramatic - are life
saving and transforming.
Thank you!!
Love & Blessings,
Shivé

Anonymous said...

I'd like some clarafication between euphoria and bliss. May be some confusion here in my thinking they were the same. With bliss there is no dysbliss?



Love and Light

D. R. Butler said...

The primary difference between euphoria and bliss is that euphoria exists in the realm of polarities, or opposites, while bliss is free from polarities and has no opposite.

The opposite of euphoria is dysphoria, a much less well known term, which my Websters's defines as "an emotional state characterized by anxiety, depression, and restlessness."

When we become addicted to a particular form of euphoria, for example, dysphoria is what we experience during withdrawal from the absence of the form we became dependent on.

There is no dysbliss. There is no opposite of bliss. Once we awaken to our true eternal nature, and experience the natural bliss inherent in our own Awareness of Being, we find it possible to experience that bliss in spite of any physical, mental, or emotional state.

When we live in the Truth of the present moment, we are in touch with inner bliss even when anxiety, depression, or restlessness set in. Bliss can be experienced simultaneously with any physical, mental, or emotional state. It is not characterized by anything external, and has no opposite.

The day of my father's funeral, I was definitely experiencing grief, yet paradoxically it was also one of the most blissful days of my life. I felt blissful knowing that he was now experiencing freedom from the limitations and pains of the physical body. I felt like I was feeling what he was feeling at that very moment.

Another difference between euphoria and bliss is that euphoria has a beginning and an end, while bliss is ongoing and an essential aspect of our true nature. It does not begin or end. We simply become more or less aware of it.

We go into this more deeply later in the lessons. Of course you probably already know this or we wouldn't have the question.

Hopefully this clarifies the difference between bliss and euphoria.

Gilbert said...

So if you're experiencing euphoria and someone steps on your toe it may catapult you into dysphoria which could result in the experience of anger.This in turn would compel you to make a statement ,in an agitated state,for the release of the cause of discomfort.
If you're in bliss and someone steps on your toe you might reply with a smile,"I usually shake hands when I want to meet someone".
Despite the physical,mental or emotional discomfort,from the state of bliss only a loving expression can manifest.
I'm thinking that the experience of fear,anger or taking oneself seriously indicates ego.Once it occurs it points to what needs to be processed in oneself so that one may gain experience of the Self.

Cristóbal said...

In response to Gilbert, I think that while in a state of bliss, when one steps on your toe, that you actually have options. While in bliss, we are not being driven by reactivity / samskaras.

It's certainly possible to reply with a smile in the way you suggest, as long as it's a genuine smile. But it's also possible to respond with anger (which is appropriate in this situation) and yet not be attached to the anger. While the anger is serving its purpose, allow it to move through as personal expression. Once it has served its purpose, it can be let go of.

As DR has pointed out, bliss can be experienced within our experience of other emotions, even within anger. One way I have head this described is to say that bliss (or joy) is a "meta-emotion", it is our natural state and it exists inherently within all of our life experiences whether we are conscious of it or not.

Love
CG

D. R. Butler said...

Gilbert, I also recommend reading Christobal's post above from December 16.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification on that one, I have often felt bliss at what seemed inappropriate times.

Also discussing anger with my doctor, who is also a priest, he told me that there is such a thing as righteous anger. I was relieved to hear this, though surprised as anger most always leads me into trouble. I think Gilbert has a good approach in his comment "I usually shake hands when I meet someone", this can be useful to one such as I, where anger is often my first response,.

Love and Light

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
D. R. Butler said...

I don't know why they make a big deal about a comment being deleted. I deleted the above comment because somehow the previous comment was posted twice, and I removed the 2nd one. I thought it might conveniently disappear, but it was replaced with a 'comment removed' badge. Oh well.

Many people don't understand anger in the right way. It would be hard to cover everything here, as we have a whole section of the course on understanding emotions and their power over us and their influence on our experience of life.

Anger is usually the result of the world not being the way we want it to be. We want someone to do something, and he is busy doing something else, so we get angry that he does not just drop what he is doing and do what we want instead. We find all kinds of ridiculous reasons to be angry.

Even worse, there is a reactive anger that comes up without any reason at all. It is an automatic reaction, which we have no control over. We can learn to replace such reactions with something more uplifting, but again this is part of our training in the course, and could not be completely covered in this small space.

As others have said above, there is also appropriate anger. When someone steals your bike, you might get appropriately angry and chase him down the street to get your bike back. The adrenalin from your anger might even help you to run faster.

Even great beings get angry. It's perfectly human to get angry. Still, with a great being it only lasts 5 minutes and then it's gone, it's over and forgotten. We, however, tend to carry it around for days or years and make a big melodrama around it.

The best thing to do with anger is to just drop it.

Or replace it with compassion or gratitude or some other more pleasant (and therefore expanded) state of mind.

That's basically all that's needed to be understood about anger, put in the most concise way possible.

Taylor said...

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!
Dear DR,
One question from lesson 10 - you write that "strange as it seems, some people lose themselves in the mind by trying to remember what they need to do, or by trying to do what they think needs to happen. Instead of understanding that everything happens in its own time and according to its own nature, we create stress for ourselves thinking we are responsible for it happening..."
I have an idea for an iPhone application and I've just started the process of downloading the software and figuring out how to get the idea into an application. Is this "trying to do what they think needs to happen"? Is this too much effort and what will happen in my life will happen automatically?
Thank you for the course Ram.
love,
Taylor

D. R. Butler said...

Taylor, you do what you do, and love your work. Love each action you perform. Make sure your actions contribute in some way to others. Yet don't be identified with the doer of the actions. The quote from the lesson has to be understood in the right context.

The only way you can exert "too much effort" is if it creates stress in or around you. I do what I do in order for the course to exist, yet in a greater context the course just happens, guided by a higher Power, and naturally addresses the needs of all participants.

I love my work, I experience no stress regarding it, and I take no credit for it. I am full of gratitude for the Shakti, the divine energy behind everything, flowing through all of us to create and develop the course. Yet I have to do my part as my own work, my own contribution. It wouldn't happen if I just lay down and waited for it to happen on its own.

The answer to your question could be a full lesson in itself. Hopefully this little bit helps.

D. R. Butler said...

We on the East Coast of America are approaching the final hours of 2009. We can use this transition as a vehicle for letting go of things, traits, tendencies, or habits that we want to have ended in 2009. We can consciously choose what we wish to carry with us into 2010 and beyond.

Let go of that which pains you or triggers anxiety. Leave it behind in 2009. There is no need to take anything undesired into 2010, and no law that we must. It is entirely up to us. We live into the future we create in this moment. It could not be otherwise.

Those of you who read the blog and these comments are very special to me. I know that you are all equal individualizations of the Infinite Omnipresence, yet those who participate in the intricacies of the work with me are special to my heart. Those who take the course with me are very dear to me.

Thank all of you for your contributions to the blog. If any 'readers' would like to join in, feel free to do so. Nothing is too silly to ask or comment on. Expressing oneself to others has its value, for we learn about ourselves, including seeing what we think and believe. Even if the ego rears its head, that in itself is part of the process of breaking free from it.

Enjoy the final hours of 2009. Experience the bliss within your own nature. Yet count on 2010 being the best year of our lives. Wait and see, 2010 will be a much better year for everyone than 2009 was. Our appreciation of it will only enhance our experience of it.

I'll be back soon -- in 2010.

D. R. Butler said...

Happy 2010 everyone!

How auspicious to begin a whole new year all together.

People traditionally make New Year's resolutions at this time, so I thought I would share with you my current conscious intent, which is included in Lesson 33 of the course.

'I see us all here together, lighthearted and happy. All our loved ones are here. No one is excluded. Everyone is included. Everyone is accepted and appreciated for who they are. We’re each doing our own thing—whatever it is that we do—and yet we’re always here together. There is no enmity, no conflict. Everyone is in harmony with everything, and there is only love.'

Love to each of you in 2010.

juanananda said...

Lord have Mercy, DR Butler! The lessons are astounding! You know those little light bulbs that pop up over people's heads in the comics? That's what it feels like when I'm reading or listening to a lesson. What a gift the lessons are.

What is happening is that the Lessons together with seemingly random events in my life are conspiring
to bring me to a delighted state of re-cognition, re-knowing, remembering. Several weeks ago, I walked into the children's chapel at our church and happened to glance at a child's bookmark on a chair. Written on the bookmark were the words 'God is Love.' A huge flash of light and understanding: if all I'm seeing out there is God, and God is Love--then all I'm seeing is Love and there's nothing else out there but Love and any time I don't see Love, it's only illusion. (And to think I heard this in Pre-K Sunday School class years ago.) All of which is making me pay attention to what I'm paying attention to--and how I'm describing what I see.

Then I had a great Course Community dream on 12/11. We were all in this great cabin and you were showing us around. The cabin had been cleared of its former clutter and all that remained were very beautiful very large glowing crystals all over. It was lovely, just lovely. We were all moving and living and being in Love, being together, making food and feeding each other. It was all so loving--we were IN Thanksgiving--THE Thanksgiving--not just the day--we were moving in gratitude and love. Then a woman woman who was leaving placed a string of turquoise beads around my neck, signifying an initiation. I woke with such a feeling of joy and love, knowing we have great communion in the inner realms and grateful to have been given this experience. What a community! Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear friend DR Butler. I love these Lessons.

I send you and Kay and all of our most wondrous community love and best wishes for this coming year, with all my heart.
Always,
Jean

Susan said...

I am, as usual, overwhelmed by all the love and wisdom pouring out of our Blog Community. My new year is being dedicated to gratitude and contentment. I know that I have read these concepts before but now somehow I finally get that contentment doesn't have anything to do with what is going on around me or to me. Contentment is a choice and you have shared the tools that I need to make that choice. Each lesson is more profound and practical than the last. Thank God for you and for all of the people that share their hearts through the blog. Happy New Year.

D. R. Butler said...

I just wanted to comment that more and more participants of the course are interacting on Facebook. I never thought I'd be one for "social networking" but as it turns out a lot of people have found the course through Facebook.

Of course, ultimately I'd prefer for people to go from Facebook to the blog, and perhaps eventually to the course by email, but we have some fun exchanges there, in case you might wish to join us in a completely different way of interacting.

Taylor said...

Dear DR,
Your response was very helpful and I have chilled regarding my iPhone application hobby. I'm going to pursue it as I can and I no longer have any worries about it. Thank you!
BTW, I have also read the whole blog and found some topics fascinating - like your whole dialogue with your MS friends.
Have a sweet day! I can just see you now walking your dog and Russell.
With love,
Taylor

Naganath said...

Happy New Year!
Some time ago my significant Other was off on some tangent, not centered, and digressing from the path and I told her to "Be in the Moment, just let all that other stuff go." She responded, "I am in the moment but I am thinking about another moment, too." Query: What is the best way to avoid being distracted by the melodrama in life and to be in touch with the Bliss that is the core of our Being? Perplexed in Nagaland.

D. R. Butler said...

"Query: What is the best way to avoid being distracted by the melodrama in life and to be in touch with the Bliss that is the core of our Being?"

The best way is to recognize the perfection in everything as it is. Wasn't your 'significant other' only being herself? Can you see the cuteness of her personality in all the various ways it manifests? If she is digressing, then it's probably a perfect digression, and you can appreciate the perfection of it all.

She wouldn't be better if she were different. She wouldn't be more spiritual if she were reciting the Vedas than she is as she 'digresses from the path' as you put it. You digress from the path when you do not see the perfection in the way it is. Of course, that is perfect too.

Always realize you have to take full responsibility for the melodrama. It never comes only from the other person, otherwise we wouldn't be involved in it. Neither is the other person ever the cause of our feeling. We ourselves are the cause of our own perception and experience. This is how creative the mind is.

Don't expect your 'significant other' to ever be ideal. Otherwise you are taking the joy and play out of the relationship. If we are genuinely ourselves, we will never appear ideal to anyone, even ourselves. We will be perfect, however, and already are, once we realize the Truth. The primary thing is realizing the perfection and learning to live in the perfection of it all.

No one needs to change. We simply need to upgrade our outlook and see the highest in everything.

JP said...

DR:
I am a long-time course participant, though I have rarely contributed my 'voice', with the exception of a couple of shares during in-person workshops. In the past I would write letters and not send them. Nowadays I'm composing blog posts but I don't 'leave my comment'.

I am prompted to share now as you wrote here a few days ago 'expressing oneself to others has its value'.

Mostly my questions and issues have been answered and addressed before the stamp goes on the envelope or before I hit 'enter' on the keyboard. Invariably I'll read something in the course that directly speaks to my problem or struggle.

This just happened last week. I wanted to share how difficult it is for me to feel fulfilled by my work, how I'm not engaging my talents at my job - I had this whole backstory that I was going to share as well - then I read here in the 8/19/08 blog your exchange with another student about the same topic - and it took all the thunder out of my pressing issue. I teared up as I recognized the primordial teacher speaking yet again through my relationship to the course.

Ten minutes later I was back to cursing out whatever inconvenient circumstance arose. So even though my questions are answered, my heart is stilled, and the beast is tamed, it often lasts only as long as the glow of the epiphany moment.

I know I really need practice on some of the basics - but please know that my life is full of lasting changes as a result of being a student of the course.

Years ago I told a colleague at work about the different spiritual practices I was engaged in, and he commented something like: "you do all that? you would never know it the way you act" -- to which I replied "yeah so can you imagine what I'd be like if I didn't?"

Steve said...

Lesson 29 comes with perfect timing, as usual. We are blessed to be spending a week in Montana, and the utter silence provided by the deep snow is breathtaking. When one is outside and takes a moment to go inside and experience the inner silence, it is accompanied by this profound encompassing outer silence as well. What an incredible blessing!

Of course, I do have a question. The Lesson states, "One aspect of spiritual development is that we rarely consciously know how we need to develop or what we truly need to break free from. We have ideas about such things, but these ideas are usually more related to our conditioning than to what is actually needed. In true transformation, we have no idea beforehand of what needs to be transformed. It comes as a surprise."

How do I identify what is in need of transformation or development, or what I need to break free from? How do I discern the difference between what truly needs to be worked on and what the mind or ego thinks needs work?

D. R. Butler said...

JP, thank you for your honest sharing. I love that you can 'tell on yourself' without being negative about it. You simply report your observations. And don't worry, every now and then Kay says to me, "I can't believe you actually write a course to spiritually guide others." When we're good we're very good, and when we're human we're really human. There's no way to deny our humanness, and no good reason to.

Steve, it sounds as though you're in a good place, as usual. I am happy you are able to enjoy some stillness and silence, on the inside as well as the outside. Many more of us would feel much better and freer if we could experience the same.

Yet we must attain a certain spiritual worthiness before such experiences are often available. Most people are so spiritually undeveloped that they don't even recognize the value of stillness or silence. Instead, they wish something more fascinating or stimulating to the mind and ego would happen.

In the lesson I write "In true transformation, we have no idea beforehand of what needs to be transformed. It comes as a surprise."

Then you ask, "How do I identify what is in need of transformation or development, or what I need to break free from?"

It comes as a surprise! There is no simpler way to put it. It happens, and you don't have to know beforehand that it will happen in order for it to happen. In fact, you don't even have to understand it as it happens. Yet when the transformation has occurred, it is then obvious what changed, and what needed to be changed at the time.

The best thing about spiritual progress is that we truly are not in charge of it. Some greater Power--whether we think of it as God, Guru, or the higher aspect of our own Self, which are all different ways of referring to the same transformative Power--is in charge of the schedule, of when certain things actually happen, as well as taking care of what needs to happen, including the necessary details. It's not up to our small, conditioned, finite mind to inform the Infinite Omnipresence of what is needed.

We are so silly when we think we know better what we need than God does. If we leave it up to Him we are in good hands. Then we can truly relax and not worry about it ever again.

Liberation happens at its own time and through its own process. The process is different for every human being. It is beyond the mind and ego, so we don't have to think we need to take control in order for it to happen. It will happen in spite of us, not because of us.

So just continue applying the principles in practical life as often as possible, and you will experience that transformation happens, and your greater Self will emerge. It happens on a grander scale than the mind can comprehend, so you can't anticipate it. It comes as a pleasant surprise, and then life is unexpectedly better in ways we would have never imagined.

I have truly enjoyed the comments and interactions that have followed the current entry. Many of you have come up with some good stuff. Keep those cards and letters coming, as I won't be posting another blog entry until around January 15.

D. R. Butler said...

This is a rather different type of comment--experimental I suppose. Last night I heard from a young woman I have known her entire life, since her parents met at a weekend workshop I led in the 70's. She has had a difficult time in her personal life lately, is a recent single mother, and has been staying with her mom for a little while. I decided to share some of our dialogue as I feel aspects of it could be of benefit to others.

Leela
mom and i are doing the course together and loving it!!
D.R.
that's great; makes me happy to hear it
Leela
thank you so much!
D.R.
thank you for participating
Leela
my latest contemplation has been "what is the truth of the present moment"
D.R.
good contemplation
Leela
the answer seems to be a connection to who i really am...it is very powerful
D.R.
you are doing well. you are well prepared for a challenging life
Leela
i love how this month’s lesson talks about power and being conscious of it...having felt so victimized and helpless...it is a great shift!
D.R.
yes, it is very important to be aware of inner power
otherwise it is useless
you are never the victim and never helpless
but i understand it sure feels that way sometimes
practice being conscious of your own inner power
and you will become more and more connected to it
one definition of delusion is the belief in two or more powers
Leela
that is part of the truth of the present moment...in the moment recognizing the power that is always there
D.R.
yes, and recognizing your own greatness, your own beauty, your own purity, perfection and divinity
that is the Truth of the present moment
Leela
the next challenge for me is re-entering my life on my own...when and where?
D.R.
yep, it's challenging to figure out the future in advance
just learn to flow in the present moment, and it is always intuitively obvious what is the best thing to do in the moment
then we don't have to be concerned with the non-existent future
Leela
i feel like i have not been too pre-occupied with what is coming...i just feel like it is getting close
D.R.
yep, it's always very close
it's almost now
yet all that is coming is simply the rest of life
Leela
so focus on the truth of the present moment and flow with what is apparent at the time?
D.R.
yes, everything is intuitively obvious in the present moment
we cause ourselves trouble by trying to figure out the future in advance
or trying to know how can it work out
when there's no way the mind can know in advance of the time it needs to know
everything is intuitively obvious when the time is right
it's either intuitively obvious or not worth thinking about
D.R.
hey, do you care if I post any of this dialogue on the blog?
Leela
i think that that’s a great idea
D.R.
me too, i'm happy you see it the same way
there is a lot in here, for anyone
Leela
i love to share
D.R.
yes, that is an important part of sadhana
sharing with others is a vital aspect of the process
it is hard to do real sadhana alone, although there might be times when privacy, stillness, and silence are perfect
Leela
especially when its intuitively obvious or not worth thinking about
D.R.
See, you can already say it as well as I -- what a worthy student
many things are not worth thinking about
now if we can only convince the mind of that
Leela
many many many things
D.R.
more than we can imagine
Leela
i feel like i am entering a place where i want to open, share, and fall in love with life again...receiving the truth of the present moment again and again and again
D.R.
well, you are well on your way
one thing about your Saturn return (she is 29) is that it gives you an opportunity to leave behind all that hasn't worked or that you no longer need, and to create an entirely different life of your own choosing
so everything is waiting for you
the only limitations are those you impose on yourself
so why bother?
Leela
I’m ready !!!!!
D.R.
Okay, Leela, enjoy a sweet evening. Love to you and your mom.

rico said...

Great "innovation" D.R. At the risk of embarrassing you this innovation while new to this medium has been around since the Sage Vasistha and his disciple Lord Rama. This exchange is as relevant to our time as the Yoga Vasistha was in Lord Rama's time.

And thank you Leela for your gracious sharing. We often learn the most from such sharing.

Ari said...

DR: I'm on lesson 33 and your new course is definitely a step up from your previous (great) course. I have tried to give some of my co-workers and even patients copies of lessons to give them an example of what the course is like. Not sure if people have continued to take the course but through the course I have had interesting interactions with co-workers. I have brought up your subject matter in a more unofficial way.

We take care of very sick people. Many times our equanimity is challenged by what's happening with the patients and their attitude towards us.

Through disussion we have learned to be compassionate instead of critical. We have practiced going to a good place during tough stressful moments. We have learned to interact with each other in a more warm and caring way. Your course is reaching and influencing lives even if the people are not actually taking the course.

D. R. Butler said...

Nice sharing, Ari.

Your participation in the course affects more people than you might imagine.

Same goes for all.

Divine light has its ways of radiating outward to the world, and brings love and comfort to those who need it and are open to it.

We are all a part of the same divine play. We each play our own role.

Thank you for playing yours.

Deborah said...

I am on lesson 9, which talks about coming into harmony. There is a lot for me in this lesson! I moved to Ecuador four years ago to be of service. My husband and I are working with the Indigenous Indians in the High Andes. Unfortunately, not all ex-pats are altruistic. In fact, there are a shocking number of con artists and pedophiles. Since they are gringos and there are not so many of us here, these people are often in my "present moment."

I have a difficult time coming into harmony with them. On three occasions I have come forward and participated in getting them expelled from the country. What I can't get my mind around is this: What inside of me, is reflecting and creating these people? I have done a lot of soul searching and honestly don't find anything within me that would cheat or steal or harm a child. Why are these people in my life? What am I doing wrong? I'm not trying to be argumentative nor take issue with your teachings. I am only trying to understand what I'm doing that creates these people. Because if I knew, I would make every effort to stop.

D. R. Butler said...

Deborah, the easy answer is "karma." As Paramahansa Yogananda put it, "All is karma, all is grace."

In the Bhagavad Gita, when Arjuna asked Krishna why he had to go to war against his cousins and uncles, Krishna told him, and I'm paraphrasing, "There is no way you could possibly understand what in your karma has led to these particular circumstances. All you can do is raise your sword and live the dharma of a warrior."

In the same way, there's no way you could possibly know what put you in those circumstances, or around those particular people; all you can do is the dharma of coming into harmony with it. Through this process you become stronger.

This doesnt mean that you condone their actions or feel okay about them. You still do what you do to uphold dharma, even if it results in participating in having someone expelled from the country. In this way you are helping to protect the indigenous people, which apparently is one reason you are there.

You simply accept such actions as something that happens in the world, and be in harmony with it. We don't live in heaven, we live in the world of karma. Don't allow it to affect, or determine, your inner state.

There is some reason you are faced with this, but it is not because you did something wrong. All is karma, yes, but since all is also grace, you go through whatever karma you are presented with by grace, and in doing so you become free of something vital, or enjoy some major insight, or in some way become stronger or develop more tolerance and endurance, which is essential to breaking free from the conditioning that binds us.

See what it is you have to learn from the situation, and do your best to be in harmony with it. Usually when we come in harmony with a situation, things begin to change on the outside as well.

Our inner consciousness is always reflected as our outer world.

Remember that the play of Consciousness exists equally in all things, and that we purify 'our' limitations and ignorance though seeing the divinity in all things, conditions, and people. Some things are more challenging than others, but remember that those very challenges are the key to your eventual liberation.

Chet said...

I know i don’t communicate much - but I wanted to write and tell you both how much i appreciate what you are doing and sharing with me and everyone else. It’s been going on a long time -it has become part of my life again - and like you say - even when everything else in your life comes and goes- there is always this part of me that sits and reads the course and plugs into this voice of truth, and everything is fine. That's probably why i don't write very often- what is there left to say - except thank you