Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Birthday!

July is Happy Birthday month around here. My own birthday is July 4—I came in with a bang. Kay’s birthday is July 20. And the first ever blog entry and introduction to the beginning of the new course was published here on July 14, 2008, so the blog is two years old this month. Lesson 1 was emailed to participants for the first time from July 15 to September 1, 2008.

If you’ve never read the original entry of the blog, I invite you to do so. It was the first introduction to the course and the blog and everything that we do here. It also contains an outline of the topics explored in the course.

If you’d like to read that introductory entry, simply click on the link below this paragraph and scroll to the bottom to the July 14, 2008 entry, which is where it all began (if it doesn’t come out as a link, simply copy and paste into your browser).

http://truthofthepresentmoment.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-10-14T23%3A00%3A00-04%3A00&max-results=11


So July is a month of celebration around our place. We invite you to join us, and to enjoy the month in the spirit of celebration. Anything can be celebrated. The moral of the story is to live all of life as a celebration.

Just yesterday I told Kay, “Every day is a party for me. All I do these days is party.”

You see, simply sitting here writing to you is a party for me. I’m enjoying a great time. Writing has been the most fun thing for me since about the age of 14, when I wrote my first short story of a utopian existence. Of course at the time I’d never heard of ‘Utopia'. It was just a story of how I thought life could be.

I'm still working toward that utopian existence. Actually, I feel that I already live in my own Utopia. I cannot think of a single way my life could be improved or made better. Do you have any idea how freeing that is?

There is a story that my Teacher told many times over the years. The story was very mysterious to me at the time, and I found it very interesting that he seemed to make such a point of it.

In the story, a Master and his student were traveling, the student supposedly taking care of the Master on the journey. The Master was elderly in physical form, and from all appearances, seemed to be a simple and humble man. The disciple was a young man who was eager to get somewhere in his sadhana, and he was happy to be traveling with his Guru.

It was evening and they were both very tired from walking all day when they came upon an inn. The only problem was, they didn’t have enough money to pay for the night. The Master suggested that they go in and find a place where they could get some sleep, and said that if they were quiet and stayed to themselves they’d be able to rest without disturbance.

He gave the disciple only one instruction: “No matter whatever happens,” the Master said, “don’t become anyone.”

The disciple thought that would be a very easy task, and they quietly went inside and each found an empty room to sleep in.

In the middle of the night, some men came into the room where the disciple was sleeping and woke him up rudely. “What are you doing here,” they demanded. “You haven’t paid for the night.”

Half asleep the disciple cried back, “Don’t you know who I am? I am the disciple of a great Guru. He is so famous, so adored by many, yet I alone am traveling with him.” He told them his Guru’s name over and over, so they’d be impressed and understand how important and worthy he was, but they only became angrier with him and threw him out.

Outside, the disciple spent the rest of the night on the ground. It was cold, and the ground was hard. He slept fitfully. In the morning, as the light came up, his Guru came out of the inn, well rested and refreshed.

The Guru laughed when he saw the student. “Did you remember what I told you?” he asked first thing. The disciple answered sheepishly: "Telling them I was the disciple of a great Guru was the only thing I could think of that would impress them enough to let me stay.”

Then he looked at the Master and said, “How did you get away with spending the whole night in the inn?”

“Oh, the same men came in my room also,” the Master said. “They woke me up roughly and demanded to know what I was doing there. I was very feeble and humble in their presence. I said I was just a tired old man who hoped for a few hours of rest, with their blessings. So they said to each other that I was a harmless old man and to just let me sleep.”

I have no idea, consciously, why this particular story comes to mind now. Perhaps it is related to certain comments that have been made here in the comments and in the threads on my Facebook page. The story seemed somehow appropriate, and it makes a great deal more sense to me now than it did when I first heard it. For one thing it reminds me of something the Guru once said to me directly: “Never become anyone.” I feel I have done nicely in this regard.

Let’s consider a couple of exchanges from last month’s comments. There are over a hundred comments a month now following each month’s blog entry, and I only have room here for 3 or 4 at the most. It is impossible to select the ‘best’ so I can only be representative. I sincerely encourage you to check out all the comments for yourself, for the essence of the blog lies in them.

Ben: asked about specifics regarding the course, including the cost.

DRB: Ben, regarding the cost of the course, we ask a minimum donation of $15 a month, and you can save by signing on for a year for a minimum donation of $150.

We are well aware of the relative costs of things in the world, as well as the relative costs of things of a spiritual or transformational nature. I know you can pay a lot more and receive a lot less than what is asked in exchange for the course.

We are also aware that many people are experiencing financial difficulties these days. For this reason I prefer to keep the price low enough so that anyone can afford it. I know that if certain of the people who take the course now are managing it, then it is managable for anyone if they are dedicated enough to inner growth and transformation.

There are participants of the course who are able to afford more than the minimum suggested donation, and they send more simply because they can, and due to their appreciation and gratitude for what they gain through the course. Because of their generosity, we are able to keep the minimum fee low enough for those who are on limited incomes, so that the course is essentially available to everyone who is willing to learn and practice the principles of Truth.

As far as what is involved in taking the course, you get a lesson of around 10 pages on the 1st and 15th of each month, and all that is asked is to read the lesson at least 2-3 times during the two weeks, referring to the current lesson daily if possible, and simply applying the practical principles explored in the lessons in your own daily life.

As far as what you get that is unavailable on the blog, you get step-by-step guidance to progress from wherever you find yourself now to wherever you want to be next, spiritually speaking, and then onward to spaces and places that you might not now even imagine. It is challenging to imagine the impact of the course in advance, for it is similar to a child attempting to imagine what it must be like to be an adult.

Anyone can receive the first month of the course free of cost, simply by writing and requesting it (drbutler.course@gmail.com). Please do not request it for others, however, as it does not have the same energy exchange, and chances are that they will pass it off as being of little or no value. This type of information and guidance is available only to those who truly want it. (Having said that, it is always appropriate to share the link to this blog with anyone you think might be open to it.)

Stuart: asked about the conflict he feels between his actual experience of reading the blog--which he describes as 'very powerful'--and some ‘unfavorable’ things he previously heard or read about the writer.

DRB: Stuart, your comment amuses me more than most, and I am easily amused. I am a fairly even-keeled guy, but this one really made me laugh. Of course, I'm usually prone toward laughter, no matter what happens. Mostly I laugh inwardly, however.

You know, people say all sorts of things. One of the first things my Teacher warned me about was gossip, and the dangers of listening to it or passing it on. He taught to stay immune to gossip and to remain unaffected by such conversations. Yet, the ego gets all excited to hear the latest juicy gossip, so what to do?

There has never been a universally popular figure in the field of spiritual growth or self-development and transformation. All of them had those who resonated with their presentation of the principles and were totally open and receptive; yet all of them also had their detractors, those who were against them and focused on the seeming imperfections in their personal lives.

In the past there were crucifixions; today there are Internet sites that spread the worst gossip anyone can come up with. And, in their delusion, they think they provide a service.

I will be 65 on July 4th. I have enjoyed a long and full life. In all that time, surely there are some things you could pick out to make me sound really bad, if you wanted to focus on those things. I can't think of anyone for whom this might be different, regarding their own lives. We are all very human. We can come up with a highlight film of our life or a lowlight film. I'll take the highlight version every time.

My understanding is that my seva, my dharma, my duty, my work, my thing to do in life, my service, my contribution, what I do, and what happens, is to write the course that goes out via email to many around the world, and to keep this blog up to date and answer questions in the comments. Whatever comes through, whatever is received by others, happens through grace. Their own readiness and receptivity attracts it to them.

The process of inner evolution happens due to the grace of the Universal Uplifting Principle—the initiating, awakening, expanding, and uplifting force of Nature, called by various names throughout time and place. Whether we call it 'the Shakti', the 'Holy Spirit', the 'Guru Principle', or by any other name, it awakens in us through the grace of God and stays active in our lives through our intention and effort to stay attuned to it at all times. It is the way it is; it is what happens.

If I were you, or if I were to advise anyone, I would say to definitely go with your own experience over the words of others. 'Objective humanity' is invariably in error. Don't even go there.

Laura: asked if the most convenient thing is really the most practical thing, as she’s always felt that doing the ‘highest’ thing is not always so easy.

DRB: It's always seemed to me that the most convenient and most practical were often the same thing. You have been conditioned to think that the highest is not always so easy? At least you are honest and seem to know yourself somewhat.

What is the 'highest'? If there is high, there is also low. How do we do the lowest things, and what are they? What are the 'highest' things? In reality, what we call the 'highest' is the 'most expanded,' as opposed to existing in a state of contraction.

The Truth is simplicity itself. The 'highest' thing to do is nothing, because the highest state is effortless. It's about remaining aware in the present moment. In complete effortlessness life happens; the karma of the body happens as though it has a life of its own, and we are just along for the ride.

True sadhana is living in the Truth of the Present Moment. We are always in the present moment; this is an eternal reality, it never changes.

If we are aware of the Truth (pure formless Awareness of Being) right here and now, we live in a state of supreme contentment, and it is totally effortless.


In this thread we have discussed the upayas. The 'highest' upaya, Anupaya, is effortless. Anava upaya, on the other hand, which we work in to purify the anava mala (the original taint that causes us to feel small, impure, and unworthy) and in which we make use of the body, mind, and prana, does require consistent self-effort and, in fact, self-discipline--the effort to continually 'come back to the present moment, come back to the heart, come back to our love.'

Anava upaya includes those things you could think are not so easy. And it's true—our conditioned ego does not want to do those things: meditate, keep the body strong and flexible through the practice of hatha yoga or other means, think well of others as well as ourselves, maintain a positive attitude, see all things as the play of Consciousness, remember the love that dwells eternally in the heart, and all the other things we do to rid ourselves of the ties that bind us.

Anyway, you are on Lesson 2. You have much to look forward to. Thank you for joining us here on the blog.

Lorna: writes that while she is benefitting greatly from the course, she has multiple sclerosis and asks what to do about the first half of her life that might have led up to living in a wheelchair for the last 20 years.

DRB: Lorna, unfortunately none of us can do anything about the first half of our life. It was what it was, it was all karma, and every aspect of it was necessary to lead up to this. Nothing was ever done wrong, and there were no mistakes. All those are human judgments that have nothing to do with the Truth of the Present Moment.

I strongly advise to meditate and focus on the subtle body, the body of light and energy that animates and enlivens this physical form (which is basically, for all of us, a corpse waiting to happen). The subtle body is pure and perfect, and in it you are always at your peak, at your best, quite independent of physical age. Through reading your lessons and applying the principles in your daily life, become familiar with the subtler aspects of your being.

The physical body is so temporary. It is our dharma to keep it in as good shape as possible, but we don't have to aim for unattainable ideals. In a hundred years from now, what will it matter?

You obviously have good understanding. You understand the importance of 'purifying' the ego. Part of that purification is realizing that we are not the body; we are Spirit temporarily occupying a body, which has its own karma. The most we can do is remain in harmony with the karma of the body exactly as it is, without feeling a need to change or improve anything. Harmony is always the key and the goal.

Focus on your inner perfection, purity, beauty, and divinity. This is the reality of you. One day we will 'wake up' from this physical life as though it were only a dream, and on one level that's all it really is.

Thank you for your question, and I am happy that you are enjoying the course.

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

157 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday to both of you and your blog. July is special for me too as on 10/7/1988 I came out of my egg. Thanks for your response in facebook although my question is not based on curiosity. I suppose I am falling in the trap of trying to live the child's life for him. Personally I had been planning to leave home since I was 5 and left as soon as I was capable of doing so safely. The clouds always part for me or the children as is best for us individually/collectively but words fail me. When the kid wished it were possible to fast/forward life I could only offer him my sympathies. When he enviously remarks how free I am I can only tell him he will be too if he makes the best of what he has at the moment. When he complains that his "moment" is 18 years long excluding university I have nothing to say except that this is so for all of us. I tell myself that I can't give him spoilers, there are some things he has to discover, "telling" never helped anybody and nothing in the world can prepare a person for the discoveries of mid-life, have to take each day as it comes and not even look for the surprises. Is that my answer then? Sorry for the anonymity I don't want a google account

Anusuya said...

Lorna's question interested me. Living with cancer is a similar experience since we tend to think we did something to bring it on. At the start we wondered where it came from and had various ideas about it, but quickly found it was not a relevant question for us because there was no going back to fix it...just moving forward and doing our best to be grounded in the present moment. The rest was just my tendency to want to place blame, which I still do after 30+ years of sadhana. So hard to break free of the samskaras. Caught myself yesterday. Got very sick and looked for the source to blame, latching onto someone in healing class with flu and a nasty cough who sat a seat away from my husband. My pet peeve is people going public places when ill so this was the perfect samskara to come up for me, but I saw the tendency so clearly this time. Maybe this is the point of breaking free of it. I recognized the tendency but the discussion feels like it is burning it away, so I appreciate the function of the blog.

Scott Marmorstein said...

imixem

That is the keyword I have to enter before I click on 'publish your comment' and somehow, this nonsense word actually applies to me.

If you break it in 2, almost 3 words, anyway. I mix 'em.

Actually, it applies to all of us. Thank you, Ram, for this beautiful post. I will be thinking of you on your birthday as I celebrate here in Bryn Athyn, PA. It is sure to be a powerful time. The weather outside is quite cool (for a replanted Texan, anyway) this morning.

I really DO have a question I'd love answered by you here.

Is it playfulness, or just curiosity, a sense of wicked enjoyment, when we purposefully 'stir the pot' and get people riled up? Now and then I find myself thinking about ways to throw people off their center (I never do anything about it of course) but I am wondering what that is about.

From time to time, I think we all do this. We all think of ways we can put other people off balance. Example? This, by the way, to me, is like 'fireworks' in the personal realm. The example is: I wonder how my friend will react if I say X to them? Especially if it's way off character for you. I must admit, I've done this plenty of times, but rarely with a straight face. And I never keep anyone 'going' for very long.

Okay..so what upaya is this? What characteristic of Shakti is this? I mean really!

Love,
Uddhava

D. R. Butler said...

Uddhava, I suppose it could be playfulness or wicked enjoyment either one. It sounds to me like being mischievous, but what to do, even the child Krishna was mischievous.

I've never deliberately 'stirred the pot' myself. I've been accused of it by those whose triggers went off when I was around, but my experience has been that everyone's triggers are sensitive enough that I don't have to do anything to set them off. They seem to set themselves off, as though they have a life of their own, and I just watch the play.

I've seen the Guru do this playfully. Like when a child brought him a huge grapefruit, looking filled with pride at what a big grapefruit she was offering, and the Guru looked down and said, "But it's so small."

Even a child's ego was unsafe around him.

We'll know a lot more about your true destiny and mission as it unfolds over the next 29 years. By then we'll know for sure why you do what you do and why people react as they do. Or maybe we won't, who knows?

D. R. Butler said...

A course participant just wrote something familiar: "I am a month and a half behind, can you stop sending me lessons from this month on and then continue me when I email you? I am not sure what people do in this situation - I have only read the last lesson once and the one before that once. And they are amazing - so I want to enjoy them - instead I feel like I am playing catch up and it is not how it should be."

Many people feel this way at some time or another. In this case, I responded thusly:

We can do it any way you like, and whatever is most comfortable and convenient for you.

The main thing is that the course isn't about a lot of reading. It's about living in the Truth of the present moment. Referring to the current lesson tunes us into that Truth, which lies within our own Self. If you refer to your current lesson, you are already 'caught up.'

The course is not like in academics where you have to memorize the material from all the lessons in order to pass tests. The real tests will come in daily life. Everything will be repeated more than once. You don't have to already know anything.

Sometimes people are momentarily thrown off when they first begin the course, because it seems like a lot to keep up with. Instead, simply focus on referring to your current lesson as often as possible.

This way there is no pressure to 'keep up.' You simply enjoy what you read and put the principles to use in practical ways in your daily life.

Scott Marmorstein said...

I know that if I tried to play 'catch up' I would never leave my computer, or my currently printed lesson, or open my eyes from meditation. I might be in such an anxious state of contraction that I would completely freeze, with little icicles hanging from my nose.

It seems like we need to do what we can whenever we can. If we have a little extra time and are so inclined, we might reread that lesson and then do laundry too. Maybe we'll check one more thing off our never ending to-do list. Maybe we'll invent that thing we always wanted.

Why is it that if we are given some instructions, no matter what they are, we always feel we HAVE to live up to them? Usually we can. There are times though we cannot--and that's when our ego steps in and says, "Yeah, I knew I was too busy...why did I even bother to take on reading this course? Why was I even born?" All of this from the inability to follow some simple instructions. And while someone is thinking or feeling that, the ego is getting stronger and milking the drama-juice for all its worth.

You know what I love rules! I love laws! Don't you? But I don't need to go into some kind of story about myself because I can't always follow them the way they were presented to me. We are NEVER behind. I don't live behind myself? Does anyone else? I live only right here and now.

Ram... I dunno. I must thrive on the drama of mischief. But not really. I don't do anything I think would really hurt a person deeply. I have a barometer. I love how the Guru didn't even let a child's ego be safe. That's the best. That kid will be so much stronger now for it. Well, I should say that adult.

Thank you so much for bringing forth the wisdom!
Love,
Uddhava

Cristóbal said...

Hi Uddhava, I loved your question. I am plugged into indigenous approaches to spirituality along with the yogic approaches, and there's something that your question reminds me of. It is the concept of the sacred clown, which is common in many indigenous societies (you can google Heyoka or Sacred Clown).

The purpose of this person on one level is to make people laugh, but there is something deeper than that. I believe that a sacred clown pushes peoples boundaries and helps people to learn to not take themselves so seriously. I think it's exactly what you're talking about.

There may not be an official role for this within the Yoga traditions, but within other spiritual traditions there is. However, there have been many great sadhana buddies through the years who have served this purpose for me, and I appreciate them all ;-)
Blessings

Scott Marmorstein said...

Anonymous...

It sounds like you've answered your own question. We can't live anyone's life but our own. Even that could be debatable depending on your perspective. Anyway, it is always better to let other people (especially those we love) figure things out for themselves. That being said, we can always give a nudge here and there with some of the more challenging areas.

Cristobal,

I don't know if I'm a clown or what, but... maybe so. I really love it that you're looking into this archetypal figure of history though. It's most intriguing to me, but not because I think I'm a sacred clown. God can claim that title and infinite others. :)

Chimene said...

Hello Ram, hello everyone,
I wanted to comment on your last entry Ram, answering the question of a course participant feeling they were falling behind in the course.

What I would like to share with that person and with other course participants feeling this way and wanting to catch up, is how I stay tuned to the current lesson.

I always have it handy, and whenever I have free time I read it, 5, 10 minutes. This is what I LOVE about this format: it is SO easy to tune into. I also use it when I can't sleep in the middle of the night, before bed, before I take a nap, when I feel angry, down, out of it, it is such a close companion, and sometimes I read the same page 5 times and some pages only once but that was perfect.

I can't wait for the new lesson to arrive so I can chew it over and over and my print out of the last lesson looks that way after two weeks. Anyway, I am only sharing my love for the course and my immense gratitude that it is back in my life. And guess what, I am going to read some right now!
love

D. R. Butler said...

Chimene has a very good understanding of how the process of the course works. Her sharing is invaluable.

She and her husband, Ghayas, live in Montreal, and were long-time students of the previous course several years ago. They have also attended many workshops with me in Montreal.

The two of them are actually translating the lessons of the course into French. We aren't quite sure how to go about marketing it for French-speaking people. The Spanish translator, Marta, is a respected teacher and writer in her own right, and had a very good mailing list to let people know she was taking and recommending our course. That got them started, and now there are people taking the course in Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, and other Spanish-speaking countries. Now it spreads by word of mouth, like the English course.

If anyone has any ideas on how to kickstart the French version of the course, please let us know.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Scott for the reply. I expect that is how one grows from one's kids when they ask seemingly unanswerable questions and then you have to go all over to find an answer. Goodness that is why I am here and with the course!

Ghayas said...

Happy Birthday Ram !!!
I offer my thanks to Infinite Consciousness for having taken DRB form that I celebrate today.
Thank you Ram for being with us and for offering your teachings, wisdom and state with such generosity to all who wish to recieve them. Thank you ! Thank you! Thank you! May you enjoy a very happy birthday. Love and blessings. Ghayas

Jane said...

I was just reading Lesson 15 and the line “…even while we’re marching with the protestors we can be in harmony with whatever we’re protesting against.” struck me because my (ego’s) tendency to vilify those who hold contrary political or rigid religious views has created unnecessary friction in my life precisely because I was not able to oppose perceived injustice without many negative, hostile feelings.

Even in recent years when I have not been inclined to physically protest, the self-righteous attitude has often continued and led to friction in the workplace. This has been the case despite the fact that in 1970 I was blessed with an experience of unity consciousness as I was preparing to go to a march against the Vietnam War. Although this glimpse (which I believe was grace bestowed from my Guru who I didn't 'meet' until 1978) was not sustained, I realized at the time that I was receiving an important message; nonetheless I’ve continued to be self-righteous about my own views while despising self-righteousness in others. While reading the lesson, I recognized (at a deeper level than previously) just how the ego loved to indulge in this sense of self-righteousness and how it detracts from my ability to identify with the highest as well as limiting my ability to communicate effectively with those who hold contrary views.

So much to learn!!
Happy birthdays & anniversary to you and Kay
And happy birthday to the course!!
Much love..

Colette said...

I am so happy to celebrate with you! I am on lesson 7 of the new course, and have been amazed at how often I get lost in thought, instead of being in the present moment. the good news is that I can laugh at it and choose to be happy instead of beating myself up as I would have in the past which of course was just another strategy to keep myself from knowing my true light-hearted nature. Life is a gas, and the course is a great anchor being here. Much love.grace and gratitude to you all. Karuna-Colette

Brenda said...

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday Ram! May all the blessings you have bestowed on all of us come back to you a thousand fold. Ram, I am so grateful for your course, blog and face book entries. Being on face book and your blog have expanded sangham into every and any moment. I am so grateful for this. Your course has had a profound effect on every aspect of my life, my personal life and my work life. I am so grateful for this. In my life, joy and love are just a miniscule reach into the present moment, who knew how easeful this can be. In my work as a psychotherapist, my clients are reaping the benefits of your course whenever I fully imbibe and articulate how being in the moment and choosing what is useful, positive and practical is beneficial for them as well. So simple and yet so profound. I feel now that I live in a constant stream of possibility, the possibility of swimming in the ocean of joy. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are a blast. Happy 4th of July, Happy Indolence Day and again Happy Birthday.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday and Thank you. It has been years since I have taken your course. After reading your blog and these comments, I know that I am signing up for your new course :)

Divya said...

I enjoyed your story of the Guru and his devotee. Especially the quote--"never become anyone." I have been noticing as I have finally begun to put my books out into the world that this may be easier said than done.I am noticing that I need to promote myself to sell my books for example. Maybe I don't understand what is meant by not becoming anyone.

Brenda said...

OOOPs, I meant Happy Independence Day not Indolence Day, funny mistake.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Ram,

In one of your lessons you mention that the subtle body lasts a lot longer than the physical body. The implication being that the subtle body eventually "is no more" or "merges into the Absolute."

Tell me, and therefore all of us, is the subtle body the same as the soul, or are these two distinct realities?

There are a few subtle bodies that I'm aware of, for example: the mind body, the bliss body, the causal (or subtle) body, and the wisdom body.

In my own case, I do not view these as the same as our soul beingness--which is still distinct from the Absolute. I would say that the siddhas are souls without the need of these extra bodies, and are identified with the Higher Consciousness while yet maintaining their supposed "individuality."

This may be a lot to chew, but I would love a dialogue about this. The way it is put in the course could be understandably upsetting for those that can't interpret it properly.

Love,
Uddhava

Deb said...

I too would like more understanding of the subtle body. Does it not contain the thoughts and feelings that get taken to the next incarnation?

Taylor said...

Uddhava,
Ram's comment about the subtle body ending was actually in the comments from June. I had the same question but did not get around to asking it. As I went back to June to find the comment, I found that a similar question had been asked there at the end. See below.
"Jenn, the subtle body doesn't exist throughout eternity. It has a beginning and an end just like the physical body, it just lasts a lot longer and grows and matures through the process of many physical incarnations, each taking up where the last left off.

Anonymous:
What happens to the subtle body when it ends. does it just melt back into the absolute?Does this happen when the absolute absorbs everything back into itself?
June 30, 2010 11:38 AM

D. R. Butler said...
Yes.

Yes, that too.

D. R. Butler said...

Taylor, I love how you respond to the questions regarding the subtle body. How refreshing to know that someone actually reads all this and puts things together in the right way. I've always said that a huge part of sadhana or spiritual work is to understand the right connections and relationships between things that might ordinarily seem unconnected or unrelated.

Anyway, you produced the perfect quotes from earlier posts to answer the question very clearly.

I will be commenting myself on all the earlier questions very soon.

D. R. Butler said...

Divya, the Guru told me to 'never become anyone,' yet at another time she told me I was the worst person in the whole ashram when it came to promoting myself.

I'm a low key kind of guy. I don't feel comfortable saying, 'Hey, look at me; I write a course and you should take it.' So it takes a lot of discipline for me to promote myself in anyway here or on Facebook. Yet it must be done, simply to make the work available and accessible to those who are ready.

So there is a delicate balance. We have to practically promote ourselves in a business sense, yet we don't have to identify with the product we are promoting, we don't have to think it has anything to do with us personally, we don't have to 'become anyone' in order to do it.

I no longer see promoting the course and promoting myself as the same thing. They are two entirely different things. So I focus on the first and ignore the second.

I am quite happy being no one:)

D. R. Butler said...

"The way it is put in the course could be understandably upsetting for those that can't interpret it properly."

That's very interesting, Uddhava. I've never yet heard of anyone being 'upset' regarding my exploration of the subtle body in the lessons, which focuses primarily on my own experience. I can't imagine what you see that might be 'upsetting.' Do you feel upset, or is this something you are projecting onto others, as though someone who reads this might not understand what it actually means as well as you do.

I'm not familiar with some of the 'subtle bodies' you mention. I only know of one. Where do these names come from? There's so much stuff being said and written. One popular teacher speaks of the 'pain body,' and I can't imagine what he means, unless he is speaking of the 'kama rupa,' the body of passions and desires.

This body hangs around the physical body after the transition for a few weeks or months--depending on how solid it is, before it evaporates and fades away--in a kind of dense subtle form, and can often be seen by others still incarnated, which is where the idea of 'ghosts' and 'apparitions' comes from. It is not the soul of the person, but only the body of passions and desires, which the 'departed' is now free from.

The soul is most accurately referred to in Sanskrit as the 'jiva'--the individualized aspect of the Infinite. It is the individualized spark of the Universal, which goes out into form and then eventually merges back into the Universal, in the same way that a wave merges back into the ocean.

The Guru spoke of 3 bodies: the physical body, the subtle body (sometimes called the 'astral body'), and the causal body. The physical is our primary experience in the waking state; the subtle is our primary experience in the dream state; and the causal is our primary experience in the deep sleep state.

The subtle body eventually comes to an end after many physical incarnations. Then we totally merge into the causal body.

I know it doesn't sound like much, but the causal body is basically nothing. It is like existing in a void. This is what the Buddhists speak of. Except there is also the Turiya state, which exists in all three bodies simultanously, as well as formlessly, and 'sees' or 'witnesses' whatever happens, or doesn't happen on all levels of being, including the void of the causal body.

Siddhas are totally free souls that are identified with Higher Consciousness while yet maintaining their roles as apparent individuals. A Siddha does not regard himself or herself as a particular person, although outwardly he or she behaves and appears as though he or she is one.

Hopefully this might offer some clarification.

rico said...

I've been contemplating your latest quote on Facebook

"The final awakening is the embracing of the darkness into the light. That means embracing our humanity as well as our divinity... we want to finally get free- but we see as long as we grab at our divinity and push away our humanity we aren’t free. If you want to be free, you can’t push away anything. You have to embrace it all. It’s all God." --Ram Dass


I've been all over the place on this one. On a basic level it seems to mean accepting ourselves just the way we are, warts and all. But if one isn't careful that could be license to allow samskaras free reign. But I suppose one needs to accept and acknowledge one's issues before they can be dealt with.
I remember a quote you related to me when we were in Miami 30+ years ago. It has stayed with me and popped up again during this recent contemplation. It was,

"Some people are fascinated with their own Shakti"

Perhaps we can be too accepting of our "dark side". Perhaps it's best to just forget about being anyone in particular who might have a "dark" or "light" side.

Chris said...

Anonymous - speaking of the unanswerable questions asked by children: Last night I watched a few stories (on Netflix) that were artistic renditions of legends / fairy tales. In one of them there were some small devil-characters that were both sinister and funny. My 4-yr old daughter was concerned that they were real, but my wife was assuring her that they were not real.

Then she asked us "Are *we* real?"

I could only smile, and say "Yes and No!"

Divya,

I think it's important that when we have a role to play in society that we accept that role as our identity. We can still understand that ultimately this is the play of divine consciousness, and that we are more fundamentally made up of consciousness, but if we don't accept our roles and stand up and say "I am an Author" or "I am a healer" or "I teach meditation", then how will our individual gifts help others?

Ram has this blog, which is his announcement to the world that he writes this course. In the blog he shares his teachings, stories and experiences which define his identity for us.

Uddhava, despite the fact that he's not interested in claiming the title of clown, has claimed the title of healer and promotes his healing work through his website.

If we are to do work in the world, how could we do otherwise than to have an identity?

What's more, I recently took a workshop with an incredible Shaman/healer/business consultant who stated: "Our identity in the world lies in the assessments that others have about us." I know that this flies in the face of the teachings in the course, but how can we deny the fact that if we want to have professional identities (which we need) that we have to accept that our reputation is important to maintaining the identity?

D. R. Butler said...

Rico, the quote I gave you 30+ years ago in Miami was a quote from Shaivism that says we get 'infatuated with our own Shakti,' which is even stronger than fascinated. We start thinking we're really something and we get infatuated with our own powers and abilities. Of course this only leads to a fall for the ego sooner or later.

D. R. Butler said...

Chris, I don't understand how anything 'flies in the face of the teachings of the course.' The whole blog and Facebook page are intended to present the course and blog and in positive light, so that people might understand there is actually something worthwhile to be gained here.

With that said, I still agree with Rumi: 'forget safety.
live where you fear to live.
destroy your reputation, be notorious.
i have tried prudent planning long enough,
from now on, i'll be mad.'

Scott Marmorstein said...

Ram,

There are those that think of the soul as immortal. The way you put it could lead one to believe that it is in fact mortal. The very notion of this death could scare people. That is my observation. I'm not always sure who is reading your blog, but I get feelings/hunches from time to time. So I only ask for the sake of clarity.

Perhaps the bodies that I speak of are better understood as koshas or sheaths. In any case, I speak of them from my own experience. I don't know if you share these experiences or not, but I am sure I didn't make it more clear the first time around. That's what's great about dialogue--a chance to whittle the stick further! :)

As for the 'pain body', I too hadn't heard of it until that famous author/spiritual teacher spoke about it in his book. I can only guess that he's equating the experience of pain in one's body as a subtle energy all on its own?

Chris, I'm actually not claiming any titles. I carry out the function of healing with many people, because that seems to be what happens when people come to get work from me. It manifests differently for all. It hits every range: emotional, psychological, physical, psychic, and energetic. What I call 'Source' is the only real Healer, and my purpose is to stay connected to That to facilitate the function of healing. For the purposes of business one has to give the appearance of identity etc. The work attracts people to it all by itself. I view promotion and attraction to be the same thing, so in my case my viewpoint is that I am attracting people via word of mouth. My great friend who is the founder of Anusara Yoga has done the bulk of the promotions for the work I carry out. All the same, the healing work will always bring people to it that are ready whether promotions are done or not by me or someone else.

This blog and Course also attracts people in a similar way. Ram, I think you're awesome at promoting your work by the way. Just an opinion.

D. R. Butler said...

Okay, now I at least understand what you are talking about. People are afraid of death anyway. Show me someone who feels fine about their body dying but who quivers at the thought of their soul dying.

You know, a lot of this is simply a matter of semantics and terminology. I brought up certain things in response to what you mentioned just to illustrate how many different ways there can be of describing or defining something.

There is no such thing as 'death.' Whatever is alive now is alive eternally--only the external form changes. There is only the natural transition from one level of existence to another. No one ever dies and no one goes anywhere. Where is there to go? Once we fully understand the Truth, we understand that we are all here right now.

On this physical world we can be in different places and read this at different times. But in the subtle world, whenever anyone reads this, they tune into what we are experiencing right here and now.

The difference in time and place is only relative, and relevant to the physical world only. The subtle world is not affected by time or space; in that realm, what we think and feel is what we get. The same principle is true in the physical realm, only in this world it takes time and rearranges place.

Deb said...

Ram, I'd like more clarification on this paragraph from you: This body hangs around the physical body after the transition for a few weeks or months--depending on how solid it is, before it evaporates and fades away--in a kind of dense subtle form, and can often be seen by others still incarnated, which is where the idea of 'ghosts' and 'apparitions' comes from. It is not the soul of the person, but only the body of passions and desires, which the 'departed' is now free from.

When my father died, I chanted the Guru Gita to do everything I could to ensure a good transition for him. I was later shocked to be told by my brother, sister-in-law and niece, that my father's ghost was hanging around their home. They had several very graphic stories, and I have no doubt that they saw and heard what they say they saw and heard.
I was shocked and disheartened. I lost faith in the blessings of the Guru Gita for a time. But if I understand your comment correctly, that was not the soul of my father. It was simply the subtle body that hadn't dissolved yet? The subtle body does not reincarnate and pick up where it left off?
I've had a number of very dramatic experiences with ghosts requiring hiring people who are skilled with working with them to remove them. Would they have just dissolved on their own given enough time?
I hope this isn't too off topic for the blog. Just yesterday your photo of Shubi brought up such strong feelings for my late father. I felt moved to pursue this. I would be relieved to know my dad's soul left in the blue pearl and went directly to it's next station, and didn't hang around my brother due to some unfinished desires. Thanks.

Renee said...

I’m on Lesson Five, and I’m rereading Lessons Two and Three again right now. I think I see something here that I didn’t see the first time:

This morning, I read in Lesson 3 “Our memories of the past may or may not be accurate. Most likely they contain segments of the past as seen from a limited point of view. Very few of us have the capacity to see things as they truly are. Instead, we see things as they appear to be, or as we think they are, according to our own past conditioning. If we cannot see things exactly as they are, how can we remember anything as it was?”

Then last night, I read in Lesson Two “…karma is what is happening to us and around us, what happens in ‘time,’ what can be described in words, what involves other people, and what seemingly happens all on its own, through its own power. … Karma includes all the conditions, circumstances, situations, events, and relationships of personal life.”

Which makes me think that seeing things “as they truly are” means seeing in each interaction all the karma that is affecting that person, which ripples out person to person, interaction to interaction all over the globe every moment. Things “as they truly are” are not “It’s your fault the baby is crying like that!” The baby is crying like that because you and I and the baby and everyone in the neighborhood that hears her was brought to this karmic moment already by past actions and conditioning, which is already over and done with and not worth agonizing over. All we can do is see it unfold and work on creating a better future by responding with compassion to all of the players? Is that what you are getting at?

I think so, because from Lesson Two: “When we truly understand this, we will no longer blame any aspect of our personal life on others.” Right?

D. R. Butler said...

Deb, it was neither the soul nor the subtle body. It was the kama rupa, the body of passions and desires. It always lingers around the physical body until it gradually dissolves into nothingness. The subtle body--containing higher mind (buddhi), conscious mind (manas), memories (chitta), and ego (ahamkara)--is off to the subtle world, from whence it came, after animating the physical body all those years for a physical incarnation.

D. R. Butler said...

Renee, first let me say that I am so happy to hear that you are reviewing past lessons. Some people are so eager to 'get ahead to the advanced stuff' that they can hardly bother to read their current lesson, much less take the time to reread some old ones as well. Somehow failing to see that the most 'advanced stuff' they are ever going to see lies in their current lesson.

If anyone picks up any lesson of the course that they first received several months or a year ago, they will be amazed to see how much is in there that they missed the first times through.

I read your paragraph about the baby several times. I can't decide if it's brilliance or madness. Of course, I'm not sure I know the difference.

Everything you say is true. Your conclusions are dead on accurate.

The baby is crying because of about 5,000 things. Of course, it could also be startled or hungry or needs a diaper change, on a very practical level, so best to first check out all that stuff.

Nothing is your fault. The best approach to life is to eliminate blame altogether. Never blame another for anything, and never accept blame from another for anything.

Thank you for rereading the lessons.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure Renee's commentary and understanding is on the side of brilliance instead of madness. It can be a fine line for sure, but what she says smacks of Truth. It brings love and joy to my heart to read those profoundly wise words!

D. R. Butler said...

It's as though she suddenly turned into a cosmic voice speaking of Truth from the heavens.

Scott Marmorstein said...

It totally reminds me of that, Ram. I could only hope on my best day to tap into such profound wisdom. I mean that. It's so beautiful and moving to reread over and over again!

Renee said...

Ram and Scott, I am profoundly grateful to you for considering this thought.

If I have anything worthwhile to say, it's because of Ram's lessons. I read something from the lessons, blog and/or comments every day. I have been choosing something tantalizing and working with it each day. Every so often I see something new or different. This course is changing the way I see things and I could not be more grateful. Thank you both for all you are doing!

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone. Chris and Renee...I finally put words to the feeling that if I look around me everything seems to be either the materialisation of the very best of my wishes or the materialisation of the wishes I would have if I had the imagination/courage, and as these materialise they lead to better/higher/more imaginative more inclussive wishes which will in time no doubt happen. So are we real? Maybe we are just wonderful prayers or as real as such prayers are. Peace

Deb said...

Thank you Ram. I have never heard of the kama rupa in any of my reading or your courses...at least as far as I've gotten...as far as I remember anyway. I've Googled it to try and make sense of my experiences. Is there a source you recommend for an in-depth understanding?

Renee said...

(By they way, what happened with the baby is this: She is nearly two years old, and has only ever fallen asleep nursing. My husband and I had a miscommunication about which night to start the process of showing her that she really can fall asleep in a way other than nursing. When I gave it a try she cried for half an hour before I gave up and told him it was his turn to try. He was completely shocked and surprised and had no idea what I had been trying to do. I lashed out at him, blaming him for making me make her cry like that. Luckily for me, he was so surprised that he didn't respond to my samskara. It helped me see that two people seeing the same thing can see completely different things. He said, "She's overtired. We should try again another night." I was thinking, "If I nurse her now, all she'll learn is that if she cries long enough, she'll get what she wants and trying again in the future will only be worse than this!" It was so obvious that at that point, the crying was just crying and she needed help however I could give it to her. It was not about changing the future.)

D. R. Butler said...

Renee, Kanti weaned our children by putting something hot (tabasko sauce?) on her. For years Sara said she stopped nursing because mommie's 'nursies' got too hot.

Can't believe the multi-layered advice I hand out here.

Renee said...

That is easily the funniest thing I've heard! Very creative!

Deb said...

I read that today is Jupiter day...a time to honor your guru, teachers and people you look up to. That would be you DR. Thank you. A great challenge was when your course was discontinued. A great delight is finding it again. Infinite blessings to you this day! I bow to you in the space of my heart!

Vandita said...

Nice looking blog Ram! This is the new web or it is still the blog? I see it in blue colors instead of the former orange.
Love, ---Vandita

Steve C. said...

Very nice re-design of the blog page. Very nice feel.

D. R. Butler said...

Vandita, it is still the blog. I am just playing around to see how it could possibly look. The official website will be ready before too long.

What have I learned in 65 years? I know that it is best in all circumstances to be lighthearted and cheerful, unless the situation is such that a show of it would be inappropriate. I still believe the 11th Commandment is "Thou shalt not take thyself too seriously."

I know the past mattered at the time, the future might someday be relevant, but the only time we can enjoy happiness or love or joy or compassion is this present moment. If we wait, we wait forever.

D. R. Butler said...

Deb, I never thought of looking it up, but looking it up on 'Bing' brought up some stuff, as well as 'Google.' It's so amazing what you can find online these days that once most people never heard of. I guess most people still never heard of the kama rupa.

I first learned of the kama rupa from my first teacher when I was still in high school. 'Kama' is the sanskrit word for passions and desires, and 'rupa' is the Sanskrit word for body. So it is the body of passions and desires, which thankfully fades away over time and is not permanent or eternal.

Robert said...

I was fascinated by the comments regarding the subtle body and the subtle world. Is this stuff really true? How do you know? Will my questions regarding these particular subjects be answered in the course?

D. R. Butler said...

Robert, I agree that the subtle body and subtle world are very fascinating. After all, subtle life is quite a bit longer in duration than any particular physical incarnation.

Is it really true? Why not? We know that our eyes only pick up a certain range of vibrational frequences, and beyond that we see nothing. We know our ears, too, only register a limited range of vibrations. Even animals can hear sounds that we can't. The same is true for all the senses. The physical world is a certain range of vibrational frequencies that are attuned to the physical senses. As the vibrations get subtler and more refined, we go into a world that the physical senses cannot possibly pick up.

How do I know? Primarily from my own experience, but also from the teachings presented in certain ancient texts. If we consider an astrological chart, the top half is primarily regarding the physical world and physical karma, including conscious activities, while the bottom half of the chart indicates the subtle world, or subconscious activities.

I have one planet in the top half of my chart. All the rest are in the bottom half. So which world do you think I am more familiar with, or that I relate to most easily?

All your questions will be answered in the course. One function of the course is to free us of all questions, and one way is by answering as many as possible. Of course this is including the Q&A exchanges in the comments of the blog as part of the course. Those who neglect reading the comments might miss something vital to their development.

Scott Marmorstein said...

"We know that our eyes only pick up a certain range of vibrational frequences, and beyond that we see nothing."

Depends on the person. My website isn't called sparkling aura for nothing. :) I really do see the aura and chakras spinning on people and I teach about what to do with those subtle energies for healing purposes to those people that show signs of being able to do the same.

Just sayin'...

Colette said...

How the question of the jiva passing out of existence occurred to me, is that just like our physical body we reach the end of its usefulness and return back to the source which we never left in the first place, so even that small sense of separation is just the absolute sporting with itself, and the absolute is what is eternal. We can never loose the absolute we can only loose the we that we think we are as separate.

D. R. Butler said...

Scott, well, you're just weird.

Colette, yes, what you say is true. The Truth of us is eternal and never dies. In fact, there is no such thing as death. There is only transition from one realm of existence to another.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Hahahahahaha! Finally! Someone has DEFINED me! I'm just weird!

D. R. Butler said...

Great Scott, named by his Guru as Uddhava, and known affectionately as 'The Weird One,' healed many in his time--and he has only just begun.

Scott Marmorstein said...

By the way, loving the new look of this blog.

Truly, my whole life is just beginning. Especially since I live right now. Ram, thank you for your sweet words and compassion on my weirdness factor.

Anonymous said...

The current lesson has given me an experience quite rare in my life recently, an old feeling experience. It is if I have been travelling towards a castle for years, finally set foot on the drawbridge and the portcullis comes down with a crash. That is a series of thoughts and words, not pictures. I don’t think in pictures.
The feeling of intense frustration that was mine for thirty of my first fifty years came back strongly. I would read books on spiritual matters and self help and all went well until the author would say, “All you have to do is visualize this, feel as if it was already present and just wait for it to manifest.” There would be a crash as I threw the book at the wall and watched as it disintegrated with the force of the impact. I would sometimes shout aloud, “Don’t any of these clowns realize that some people cannot make mental pictures?”
The current lesson mentions the necessity of seeing the light. It also describes the simple, though not necessarily easy step of focusing on a visualization until it becomes so real that a feeling arises that the visualized thing is now real in the subtle realms. I did actually get a feeling from the lesson. The feeling of an insuperable barrier crashing down to stop all further progress. I shall probably get over it. I have gotten over many things in the past eighty years. But I thought you needed to know that though you could obviously visualize easily, even as a child, that there are some for whom this easy thing is difficult indeed. Blessings, Vaman

D. R. Butler said...

Vaman, my friend, you have powers you don't yet know of. You can 'see' with your mind's eye, you inner eye. Can't you picture a rose, a face of a loved one, the morning sun? Surely you have visual memories. Remember, the point of the exercise isn't to 'create' anything. It is to sharpen our faculties of focus and concentration. You might have a mental block about making mental pictures, but I assure you that you would not even be human if you did not have this ability.

Solmeone Else Said said...

"It is if I have been travelling towards a castle for years, finally set foot on the drawbridge and the portcullis comes down with a crash. That is a series of thoughts and words, not pictures. I don’t think in pictures."

But those ARE pictures! A castle and drawbridge are pictures. I guess I am not clear how you can use descriptive language like that, a castle has a very definite image in someone's mind, as well as a drawbridge, and yet you cannot seem to conjure up other mental images.

I've seen this sort of thing before with others. It's not that you can't visualize, it is feeling more like you are interested in the drama of "not being able to picture things as others do." Because that is obviously quite familiar to you. "The devil you know is better than the devil you don't."

Your words feel like resistance more than they do reality. There is no intention here of being mean to you, I am just stating an observation.

The point is, I BELIEVE IN YOU! I feel you can do it, even as you can use the image of a castle and drawbridge! Yes you can. Yes you can, oh yes you certainly can visualize whatever you want!

rico said...

Perhaps the problem is one of definition. I recall our exchange regarding "seeing the light" and my mention of a lack of an actual visual experience. It is rare for me to have an actual visual experience of something I "visualize". But I can visualize something without actually seeing it. Simply calling up a memory can powerfully recreate an experience, even a visual one, without actually seeing (like one would see a movie or a snap shot)a picture.

jimi said...

I couldn’t resist commenting on something mentioned a few days ago & obviously not well understood. Not only I have I read quite a bit about the pain body in Eckhart Tolle’s (ET for short) books, I have personally experienced it more times than I care to think about. In one of his books ET describes the pain body as “a semiautonomous entity”. ET does not use much sanskrit terminology, but I would say that what he means by “pain body” is the collection of samskaras that reside in our ego...heck, I’d even say comprise our ego. One could even say it is a huge, dynamic knot of negative energy. Ram has often talked about how the “samskaras come out to play”. Well, when they come out to play in force, that is what ET calls an “pain body attack”. We’ve all experienced it regardless of what we call it. As Ram has said, once the samskaras get a grip on us, it can be hard to shake them loose. It is a wave of overwhelming negativty. This is why Ram advocates replacing negative thoughts w/positive ones AS SOON AS we notice any negativity w/in us. Once they get going, their momentum can increase exponentially & most of us cannot just simply will them to subside They seem to have a life of their own for awhile....thus the “semiautonomous entity”.

OMG, if ET saw this “explanation”, he’d probably laugh his head off, but I still had fun writing it.

jimi said...

Rico said, "I've been all over the place on this one. On a basic level it seems to mean accepting ourselves just the way we are, warts and all. But if one isn't careful that could be license to allow samskaras free reign. But I suppose one needs to accept and acknowledge one's issues before they can be dealt with.

Perhaps we can be too accepting of our "dark side". Perhaps it's best to just forget about being anyone in particular who might have a "dark" or "light" side."

The concept of "acceptance", much like that of “surrender” is difficult to wrap the mind around...probably because it goes way beyond the mind, but also because of the connotations those words have. Anyway, I like to say, “Acceptance is not agreement.” Hope that helps.

D. R. Butler said...

Jimi, you've been doing a lot of focused reading and writing.

I'm sure 'ET' would be pleased.

You're right, 'acceptance' and 'surrender' are two difficult words to understand in the right way, because they have many different meanings, depending on the context.

'Acceptance' in the most expanded sense is not condoning or justifying anything; neither is it approving of or advocating anything. Like you said, it is not necessarily agreement.

True acceptance is simply recognizing the existence of the way it is and allowing it to be so. There is nothing gained by fighting or resisting it. It is the simple allowance of what is, so that we can rest in our own inner harmony.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy (and DR) thank you for the last one!!! another lightswitch just flicked on. I had been having huge trouble over a certain type of acceptance confusing it with agreement and now it is gone!

Vaman one may not "see" with mind-eyes one may "see" with all senses. I was walking blisssfully in a wood one sunny afternoon and suddenly I had this really intense feeling of yanking someone by the sleeve in an urgent "come along now!" tone of voice. Of course there was no-one there but for a split secong I felt there was as my walk was so beautiful I had to share...I "saw" nothing but the rustling foliage and the playing sunbeams. Good luck with your Heart-eyes.

Renee said...

Regarding samskaras rolling out of control:

Last night, I had a familiar anger samskara come up - I didn't "get" to get a shower when I wanted to, and I was mentally stomping around feeling put upon.

I couldn't see how to just say, "Oh, Hello anger" and just let it go. I couldn't accept what was happening.

Then I used something that Thich Nhat Hanh said (and I'm paraphrasing as I understood it) about embracing the negative feeling and holding it with compassion till it subsides, like you would do with a child who is out of control. It worked, though I needed to be in the shower to do this work. ;)

Kristopher Stillwell said...

I love this Ram...rest in our own inner harmony...I had a clear teachable moment with this this morning: trying to hurry and put my contact lenses in one of them would not go in and after 20 minute or so and 50 attempts I simply realized this wasn't going to happen now and acknowledged the frustration and chose to remain happy and move on...a pair of glasses will have to do this morning...choosing to rest in my inner harmony. Thank you.

JP said...

See the same Self in all. Bring lightness and cheerfulness to yourself and those around you. Be a beacon of light to those you come in contact with. Radiate love.

I've liked it. I've sung its praises. But in the day to day grind it seems like a fairy tale. How do you do it? Over here in this incarnation, in this body, we're on guard all the time. The five senses report various levels of danger and we're operating most days at code yellow with the anticipation of code red. It's been that way since the military took over. Back in the day, at the beginning of sadhana, we had naive, marshmellow leadership and we got decked, blasted and tread upon. So now radiating light and love, living with compassion get scoffed at.

Radiate love. Be a light in the lives of others. I understand and embrace this intellectually. Reason tells me people have done this, great ones. Many who visit this blog live that way and I celebrate you. But the path from this place, where we're on guard all the time, to where you are, is not clear.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Ahhh, JP.

Why does this sound so familiar to me?

"Someone ELSE can do this, but not me."

"Someone ELSE has figured this out, but I am an intellectual and can't do it. Or maybe I could, but I just don't know how."


No one else has some quality better or greater than you in order to live in the Truth of the Present Moment. All that is required is being conscious and present as these thoughts and feelings come up.

You asked what the path is from "here" to "there" and the only path is a 'T' that is missing. Here. There. A "T" is all that is missing on your path. The word 'here' has no T. The word 'there' has a T. To really BE 'there' is to actually only be HERE, Now. Let that "T" stand for Truth. And let that T for Truth be completely silent.

The Truth is what is happening inside or in front of you. It is only that you bring your conscious awareness to this moment of whatever is happening, that you see it for the Lila or play that it is. By doing this, you will feel the pulsation of freedom arise. You will have the choice right then to cling or to let go. Up to you. Always has been. Always will be.

You are great, have always been great, and will die that way and Live eternally that way.

D. R. Butler said...

You can tell Scott is warming up for his workshop next weekend. Looks as though he's rounding into fine form.

Great response, Scott.

If anyone is interested in his workshop--especially recommended if you need healing--somewhere near, but not in, Philadelphia, go to his site:
http://www.sparklingaura.com/

Kathryn said...

First of all, Happy Birthdays and Congratulations and many blessings on you!

Next, Thank You so much for the Course. I hope my appreciation is somehow conveyed through those two little words. I’m sending a donation to your celebrations in the mail.

I have started reading the Yoga Vasistha, since you wrote about it, and I’m on Lesson 7, "What You Think Is What You Get," and have had various degrees of stuckness and some wonderful freeing up of stuff. I kept getting stuck on the imagining or visualizing, too, because I had this notion that it would be taking me out of the present moment to do it. Like there was an implication of something lacking or missing in the present so I had to figure out what I wanted and what I needed to do to get there.

Still, somehow, (because of the contentment found in the present moment?) I knew that just couldn’t be the case, so went back to square one (the now) as much as I’m capable of. It clicked when you said in the blog that the point isn't to create anything-- that part has already been done, right? Creation has a way of bubbling up if you're paying attention.

You emphasize how important the What You Think Is What You Get principle is, so, if you would, I could use a clarification check in all this. From what I understand, in the moment, prarabdha karma is playing out. If we are in harmony, samskaras come, samskaras go. If not in harmony, samskaras reinforced.

There is (simultaneously?) another type of karma-(name?), the creative aspect, whereby “we are the author of our own destiny”. Which is not so much ‘thinking up’- with all the gear grinding, rather, this seems the place for tapping in to the Intuitive Guidance of the heart. (This seems to be where it’s coming from, but you also talk about the mind's eye...) The more skillful we are in listening and doing, being, the less samskara generated. If really, really skillful, it’s a life of freedom, originality and total appropriateness in the moment.

Now, parusa. Is this the creative aspect of karma? Is parusa rather like the reins, what we have control over, what helps us in employing the yogas?

And, as I talk about samskaras, I find I’m not really sure if they are totally negative, maybe not pleasant, maybe not completely vital/alive, but how would we have this whole dance without them?
Oh, clarity, clarity, please...

With much love and thanks,
Kathryn

D. R. Butler said...

Kathryn, you just said a mouthful. Yes, clarity, indeed.

One thing: you are on Lesson 7 and you are asking about Sanskrit terminology that has never been used in the first two years of the course.

The lessons of the course are very clear, and they are designed to meet you wherever you are and help you open up to the next point of expansion or elevation, and then the next, and so on. There are not really 'elementary' or 'beginning' lessons, as you have seen. Most people who begin the course have been doing spiritual practices for a long time.

So when you ask about terms I haven't even covered, it's like bringing in something you heard or learned from the past, and wanting me to comment. Or maybe it's something you read in the Yoga Vasistha, but all my commentaries on the Yoga Vasistha are in the lessons.

Anyway, the one question I clearly understood was the thing about 'What You Think Is What You Get.' You seem to wonder what's the point, or something to that effect.

Here's the point. We do this all the time, unconsciously, whether we have any conscious idea of it or not. We think things, we see things in our mind's eye, we picture things, we entertain concepts and expectations, and all these things manifest as our personal life.

Most people do this unconsciously, and only repeat past patterns, or what they subconsciously picked up from parents, teachers, and peers, and their life is totally predictable from beginning to end.

The point is that we need to realize that we are already using the creative power of the mind to create our life as it is right now.

Since we do it anyway, why not understand the underlying principle and do it consciously, and instead of creating mechanically like an automaton, we can use the same power to think and see and feel what actually feels pleasant, and by doing so we contribute positively in the lives of everyone we know.

The greatest contribution we can make is to share our own good feeling with others. Yet we can't do this if we don't learn to live in this state consistently, not just now and then when we remember or when we're in a good mood.

This is what 'spiritual practice' is all about.

JP said...

I heard some advice recently for married men: "married men are like fish - if they keep their mouths shut, they don't get caught". Great advice for survival in marriage, but not so much for sadhana.

I feel bad about some of the nonsense that I post here. I know it is not pretty and I post only a small portion of what I type out. More than once I have been edited. I'd rather not pollute the blog with my ego speak. I'd rather write inspiring uplifting advice and to be sure I could repeat easily many things I've been taught or read over the years, but the longer I hide all the limitations and bad habits, the stronger they get. So as much as it pains me, I will play the fool. And if it pains me I'm banking that it is the ego burning away and there will be peace and quiet on the other side.

Kathryn said...

Okay, so--instead of spiraling out on tangents looking for the big picture, I only need to contend with the view right in front of me..

D. R. Butler said...

JP, I guess if any place is safe for you to let your ego stick its neck out, this is it. I edit some posts to make them more clear, not to censor them. Anything you post is okay, as long as you are sincerely sharing your own experience and perspective.

As the Guru once said, "Please don't try to impress me with your spirituality. At least around me, please be real, be your true self."

Kathryn, that would be a great place to start out. We are learning about living in the Truth of the present moment. It takes a while to grasp the fullness of what that actually means. It is great to start out in this very moment and take it one step at a time, instead of trying to get the whole universe explained all at once.

The lessons of the course guide you very clearly from one step to the next. For a while, focus primarily on them and get into the flow of the process of the course--which is referring to your current lesson as often as possible, and applying the principles discussed in practical ways in your own daily life.

Greg said...

Would you say that the majority of the comments and questions are posted by those who take your course? Sometimes you write that the participants of the course should consider the blog and the comments as part of the course. What's that all about? And how should people who do not take your course consider the blog?

D. R. Butler said...

Yes, I am fairly certain that most comments and questions are from participants of the course. They are encouraged to participate here as part of the course, and many of them join in.

Of course, as you said, there are also people who read the blog and post comments and questions who do not take the course via email. How should these people consider the blog? However they wish to. The blog is as you see it. It is whatever you can open up to. The depth of what you can receive from it depends largely on how you see it, and on what you believe is truly available or accessible.

The blog is what it is. It is complete in itself, just as my Facebook page is complete in itself--it maintains the same level of dialogue that we go into here, except we cannot go quite into as much depth there as here.

The course is not for everyone. A lot of people just aren't into reading that much. That is fine; they have their own paths. Other people are perhaps teachers in their own right and have their own students, and they might feel there is nothing to gain from a course via email that they do not already know and understand quite well. Or they might simply think that surely nothing truly worthwhile could come from some obscure course that comes through email.

In reality, the course is not about a lot of reading. The course is about living in the Truth of the present moment. One's current lesson simply tunes one into that Truth simply by referring to the lesson. The more often we refer to the lesson, the more often we are tuned into the space of the Truth.

There are no 'beginning' or 'elementary' lessons of the course. Most people who begin the course have been doing spiritual practices for a long time. The very first lesson starts right up where you are right now.

As far as why should participants of the course keep up with the blog--because it is a way of staying in real time contact with each other. The current blog entry and comments have been written more recently than your current lesson; therefore it is a way of staying up to date with each other.

There is a certain Shakti (power) in everyone tuning into the same dialogue around relatively the same time. With your lesson, you share it with all the people who signed up for the course the same month you did. But with the blog and comments, you share it with everyone who takes the course, no matter how long, and many others who do not take the course. There is great power in so many of us being focused on the same thing at the same time.

It is impossible to truly express in advance what is possible through the process of the course. It's really something you have to experience for yourself before you can have any inkling of what actually happens through participating in it.

Deb said...

JP, I have to say that sticking your neck out here can be very beneficial. If you're going to be real and show your warts, this is a safe place to do so. I recently went through one of my samskaras quite publicly here and through D.R.'s FB page. It was very beneficial. The samskara seems to be gone now, and this reaction I had consistently expressed, no longer is influencing my present moment. Don't be afraid to be real and get what you need. There is divine energy that supports those who participate through this course and blog. You've come to the right place.

Renee said...

Ram,

I have been going back through and methodically compiling all the blog entries and comments into Word documents, from the beginning till today. I was planning to print the documents so I could read them when I'm not at the computer. I realize that I missed a TON of comments in my previous haphazard method of looking.

I don't know how you feel about it, but I could email you the documents so that you could send them to whoever is interested, maybe offer it to new participants like me who are a little overwhelmed by the volume of information and difficulty trying to figure out what I already read and what I still get to discover.

Renee

D. R. Butler said...

Renee, I love that you are reading the blog and all the comments from the beginning. I'm happy you've discovered a method that works for you.

I'm afraid if I sent documents to new people, they'd feel even more overwhelmed than they already do. It takes some people a while to actually get in the swing of staying up to date with the readings. I imagine the best thing is to allow people to discover and explore the blog as they feel inwardly led to, as you did.

In the beginning, I am happy if they will just reread the current lesson. It takes the average participate approximately two years before they actually discover for themselves the true benefits of rereading each lesson and referring to the current lesson as often as possible.

Anyone who fully explores the blog such as you have is totally open to what is new, making them ready and receptive to all the course has to offer, which is substantial.

Chris said...

Ram - in the lessons (I'm in the section on the Power of Feelings) you talk about replacing an automatic negative reaction (like say anger) with something more uplifting, like lighthearted joy.

It seems to me that we want to eventually reach a place where we not only replace our negative reactions with something else, that we want to replace ALL reactions with something else.

And it also seems that the best thing to replace it with is not something more "positive", but with Awareness itself. From the place of Awareness, we can choose how best to respond in the present moment.

At some times it might be appropriate to respond with anger, with grief, or with a lighthearted and uplifting comment.

This gets beyond concepts of the polarities of "good" and "bad", positive and negative, light and dark, and so forth. I understand that if we have to experience something, we should go for the experience of something uplifting and expansive like joy. But isn't the ultimate goal to be anchored in a state of supreme Awareness, the state which hold all of the above?

I'm just curious to hear your take on this.

D. R. Butler said...

Chris, very interesting comment and questions.

We see very eye-to-eye, and there is no disagreement from my side regarding anything you said.

Surely, if you are in the 'Power of Feelings' section, you have read where I wrote that anger and grief, in particular, should never be repressed or stuffed--otherwise it will lead to physical and/or psychological problems. These feelings need to be felt completely until they are finished--then we can finally be free of them.

Of course, we must be careful not to direct our anger toward another person. Not only do we then ruin that person's day, we create unnecessary unpleasant karma for ourselves.

If you can go from anger or agitation to the space of the Self, then more power to you, I support you all the way.

Most people cannot do this. It is easier, at first, to replace the unwanted negative feeling with a more positive and uplifting feeling. In this way we live in the space of the Self through the subtle application of will.

Many years ago I observed that it was much easier to replace a negative thought with a positive thought than it was to go straight from a negative thought to the space between thoughts. Most people I have worked with have found the same to be true.

The same principle works in the realm of feelings. Of course, ultimately, we want to end up in the pure space of the eternal Self, but you know what--we are already in that space, and we already are the eternal Self. There is nothing to become or attain. The Self is already attained.

The most basic principle is to do whatever works for you. Different people have different ways of effectively dealing with the same stuff. For me the easiest principle to immediately apply is that of replacement--replacing the unpleasant with something pleasant, simply through using our own will power.

Ultimately, of course, we realize it's always just been this game that Consciousness is playing with Itself. None of it really matters and in fact none of it ever actually happened. There is always only the Self delighting in its own play.

The ultimate conclusiion of the Game is to realize we are always already the Self in all its glory--pure, perfect, pristine--and always have been. It's like the T.S. Eliot poem where we end up where we first began, but understand it for the first time.

Chris said...

I understand what you say, Ram, about replacing with the positive feeling being easier than entering into awareness.

I have many experiences in this domain. When put into a state of emotional stress by some apparent outside event, in some case I am thrust into a state of fear. In other cases I find myself feeling very irritated and angry.

However, there is another thing that happens sometimes, and that is that I find myself pushed straight into my Heart. In this place, I feel the emotions very intensely (fear, anger, whatever), but I am MORE aware of that which holds the emotions, being my Heart. In that place I can feel the pain of whatever has happened (the pain that the ego is feeling that caused the reaction) and just accept it.

Still, I'm going to keep your suggestion in mind. That would be one of looking at the egos reaction and saying, "Wow! Isn't that interesting what my ego just did." I'm guessing if I can find a way to be amused by my ego, then I'll be able to thoroughly enjoy the rest of this and all remaining lifetimes!
Thanks

D. R. Butler said...

Yes, it is a great freedom to learn to be amused by the ego.

As long as we take it seriously, it remains in charge, being the domain of seriousness.

When we can laugh at the ego, and at our own silliness, we will go through life constantly laughing like many of the great saints.

JP said...

re: ego busting. Many thanks for the support. I was really out there, stuck out there along with my neck. Feel now like I'm among friends.

D. R. Butler said...

I love this so much, and I'm sure Renee won't mind me sharing it with you here. She recently ended an email to us with this:

Yesterday, for the twelve minutes I was trying to eat my breakfast, there were only fifty-six seconds of actual quiet. The rest was my children:

taunting each other
fighting
singing
asking for books to be read to them (like this, "read it, read it, read it..")
asking for drinks of milk
crying to do it themselves
spilling the milk
different kids fighting
crying about having poured the wrong milk
banging the kitchen cabinet doors
hitting the dog and my admonishments
discussing not taking milk into the living room (which is not allowed)
asking questions about the book that I haven't read yet
two kids talking at the same time about different things
dropping cereal and spoons on the floor by accident and cleaning those up

For the most part, I was amused by all this. But I could also see I was annoyed. I have great material to work with. :)

Renee

Kristopher Stillwell said...

This is my 2nd post on this grace bestowing blog. I've been reading the first lesson and feel so fortunate to participate in the course. I've promised myself to enjoy participating as a beginner and play with staying in that space. I have so much to learn. There is a pattern here of the discussions focusing on the qualities of feeling underneath the obvious outer events. What drew me to your blog and course this time Ram is the quality and frequency of experiences like these I'm having and the recognition that there can be more. I do still get caught in past memories and stuck feelings but their intensity and frequency are less and the underlying humor and blissful experience is progressively more palpable. I find life enjoyable in new ways as a result.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

In the introduction to this course and in other places you mention 'enacting self will'.

I am intrigued by these comments:

"A lot of people know about the “power of positive thinking,” yet very few know how to activate will in ways that allow them to actually apply the principles of Truth in their own daily lives for the benefit of themselves and others."

I once had a conversation with meditation teacher Sally Kempton about the use of this subtle will. We discussed applying the subtle will to walk through certain "gates" in meditation. Curiously, she talked about it like relating to a cat that one needs to focus ones intention softly without force. I practiced her suggestions without success at the time, or so it seemed. I now feel there is this window of opportunity to make a quantum leap in my practice; meditation and/or simply daily life (whats the difference?) otherwise and I am not sure how to approach it.
I treasure the wisdom that comes through you D.R. and am open to whatever comments you or another may have.
Funny note: my word verification to log comments on the blog is "cat-emnsp".

Kristopher Stillwell said...

I am excerpting a Facebook entry from 06/29 about arguing in your mind with another...at your suggestion to bring more "meaty" posts to the blog for more in depth dialogue. Here it is: "For some time I've made a concerted effort to be in the place of "no one is right or wrong in this discussion" and therefore my job is to honor and listen to all points of view and keep my mind still about right/wrongness. But this is tricky still from the point of view of the ego. I recall so much of our gurus comments as offerings to consciously keep the ego in check or burn your own ego, so to speak. Do you understand this 'see the other as right' as the most effective way to remove the ego from the forefront and therefore our natural happiness shines through?"
Thank you for considering this D.R. I have imagined here that an "Atmavicharya" type focus of one post building on another would be best for continuity but I remembered your loving suggestion to repost, so here it is.

D. R. Butler said...

Kristopher, thank you for being willing to see the course from the perspective of a beginner. It's only when we see what is absolutely new that we actually advance or open up in some new way.

So many have the tendency to recognize the words or phrases as 'familiar' and think they 'already know it' instead of being willing to see what is absolutely new in it.

The quote from the lesson regards 'activating will,' which few people know how to do. Therefore, all their knowledge and wisdom remains useless, for they do not know how to generate enough will power to actually apply the principles in their daily life.

Sally and I are old friends, and it's unlikely we would disagree regarding anything essential. Her likening the use of subtle will to relating to a cat is very good. I have had many cats, even once dreamed of being a cat and relating to other cats, and I get that one totally. It's not a forcing of the will, as we might ordinarily think of it, but a very gentle movement of will that elevates our mind and perspective to the most expanded space.

The 'window of opportunity to make a quantum leap' always exists in the present moment. The leap in itself takes no time.

D. R. Butler said...

Kristopher, you posted your second question while I was answering the first. For someone on Lesson 1 you have certainly plunged right in with a lot of enthusiasm. Goddess knows what you might do after Lesson 2 goes out tomorrow.

The thing about always seeing others as right is mostly about not seeing others as wrong. It doesn't mean that what they say is always true or that what they do is always dharmic. It's just, don't make them wrong, especially when you are busy being right about what they are wrong about.

This is a highly delusional egotistical melodrama, yet it is so alluring to the ego it takes diligence to not get caught in it.

Therefore, simply seeing all others as 'right' keeps us out of a lot of trouble, promotes harmony in all relationships, and refuses to allow the ego to entangle itself.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Thank you regarding the 'others as right' approach. I am exciting about continuing to put this into practice. I'm enjoying the freedom of choice of doing what feels expansive.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

This, 'enacting of the will' and your comments,"...but a very gentle movement of will that elevates our mind and perspective to the most expanded space." Gentle was never really my middle name...so I'll play with this! and make it my own.
I'm curious, what kind of cat would you like to be?...I feel like Akka now.

Renee said...

Ram, you are right - I have no problem with sharing that list of nonsense. It's like that all the time. My kids are 5, 3 and 2.

Today when my three year old was having yet another tantrum about not getting the exact right food at the exact right moment, and I was getting more and more frustrated with his frustration, I tried to see how the feeling was my ego and not me. I was thinking about watching the emotion play through me like a movie.

The image that came to mind was of a fish out of water - the ego flopping around in impotent fury - while I watched. It was amusing enough for me that I could be angry and amused at the same time. All day I've been thinking about this flopping fish and how it works so hard and never gets what it wants.

Not sure if I gave a good enough visual there, but maybe someone else can relate or chuckle.

(I also had the blog and comments document printed today and it's a lot more than I thought. I was told it was 800 double-sided pages as of July 11! It's always possible that I put the same month in there twice, but I think it really is that much content. So much to ponder! Thank you.)

D. R. Butler said...

Kristopher, probably I would be a cool cat.

Renee, you have taken on one of the toughest karmic situations to deal with there is. I'll bet that your ego is definitely going through a lot of purification. As we see it, it gets expelled from us. It always has to be exposed before it can be expelled. We can't break free from something before we really see it for what it is.

You have a great situation to work with, from the perspective of sadhana or spiritual work. With 3 children that young, you have no choice but to live in the present moment.

While observing your own ego, which is wonderfully freeing, also keep in mind--just to have some clear perspective--that for about the first 7 years a child is totally a walking, talking ego. There is almost nothing anyone can do or learn at that age to not be mostly egotistical and self-centered.

Understanding that will help you to not expect too much from them.

Around the age of 7, they begin to have more empathy for others, and have the capacity to learn to be considerate and unselfish. As they approach teenage years an inexplicable and unexpected rationality will kick in for them, where they suddenly seem to be so much more knowledgable and sophisticated than before, and suddenly you can relate to them in ways that was never before possible.

Have I really written that much? You'd think I would get a life. Years ago a swami told me that I'd already written the world's longest book, and this was long before I began this current course and blog.

As long as anyone wants to read what I write, as long as the eyes and fingers hold out, as long as the mind works, or doesn't, I guess I'll keep churning them out until...that's where my mind stops.

Renee said...

I know what you mean about them being all ego. It's not pretty, but it is beautiful in its way.

I notice that they never do two things at once. If they are talking, they are not putting on their shoes. If they are eating a cookie at the grocery store, they are not walking. If they are crying, they are totally, completely destroyed. When they are happy, they are totally, completely happy.

Scott Marmorstein said...

I don't make other people right nor do I make myself wrong. I just watch what each of us is saying. Neither right or wrong, but an expression of what we are experiencing or believing.

I may disagree with someone, but I know that it is only because I am unable or unwilling to look at something they are talking about from their perspective. Sometimes it's just a matter of semantics which throw me off. I never make anyone right or wrong, they just are and so am I.

In my view, if one person is right, that makes the other person wrong. Therefore, I forfeit the idea of being right or wrong all together.

It is still quite different than being correct. Correctness is without any emotion. It is simple accuracy and as a truth stands on its own without making someone right or wrong. If someone refutes that the sky is blue they are not wrong, they are mistaken or delusional, and in either case there is no need to 'defend' my position that the sky is blue just because the majority of people say so with me. I don't have to defend the sky anymore than I have to defend the Truth.

jimi said...

Renee, about the kids. My two girls who are now grown either didn't do all that stuff or I forgot. I think the former because now when the 2 grandkids are here (ages 5 & 2), they DO do everything on that long list & it absolutely drives me to distraction. Truly it is unbearable to me.

On another note my wife & I took care of the grandkids almost everyday, so I was able to observe them very closely practically from birth. Ram, the statement that kids are all ego till they are 7 is not completely accurate. Babies start out w/little or no ego because they start out w/no conceptual view of the world. Everything is ever new for them, which is why they are delighted by the simplest things & often break out into spontaneous demonstrations of pure joy. Of course as we "do our duty" and teach them all the "important" concepts they "need" to know, the ego gradually gains a foothold. My granddaughter remained very light & totally delightful until her little brother was born at 3. Of course her ego would have continued to develop regardless, but his appearance accelerated it to the point where she became barely recognizable compared to how she used to be. To defend himself agains his sister's onslaughts, my grandson has of course developed an ego much earlier than she did,
but when he's not around her, it recedes to a large extent. So I will say this: If you want to be around someone who lives almost entirely in the present moment, be around a baby...say up to around 2 years old & who doesn't have a sibling picking on them. What a pure delight they are, and it's our very own potential as well.

D. R. Butler said...

Jimi, take my word for it, your girls did those things. Whatever your grandchildren do, your own children did their own version of.

You find it unbearable, in large part, because you are quite a bit older now. It makes a considerable difference. That's why people our age don't have little babies. They are infinitely easier to deal with when we are younger.

I remember once when a friend came over to visit when all 3 of my children were still young. They were running around doing their usual thing, and finally our friend said in exasperation, "How do you stand it?"

We both said, "Stand what?" For us it was so normal that we had long since adapted and didn't even notice anymore. Our friend, who'd never had children of her own, was overwhelmed by the vibrational onslaught. It's amazing what we can get used to.

Kay's daughter Tiffany, a blossoming young hatha yoga teacher, lives about a half hour away, so we see her children (1&4) quite a bit. I am happy to be in the grandpa role, as dealing with young children on a fulltime basis at this point in my life would be about the most challenging thing I have yet come upon.

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear Jimi! I watched the baby and found him/her perfect infused with divine wisdom that made me feel tiny. My impossible task was to preserve this wisdom. Am I succeeding? How to tell? Impossible task two how to teach them to preserve this wisdom through human co-existence...will I ever?

Michael said...

Dear Ram and Kay (!)

It's been a while since I last wrote. I'd like to share some of my process. I've been working on loving myself as I am in this moment, and seeing the same Self in all others.

I am increasingly astonished at how erroneous my perception (of everyone and everything) has been. The ego does not like admitting its understanding has been off base. But I can't argue with the new way I'm beginning to feel. When I look at someone something deep inside twists or inverts, and suddenly my heart is filled with the understanding that I am looking in a mirror gazing at my own reflection. The more different the person appears, the more intense the feeling of recognition, and the greater my enjoyment and astonishment.

I feel the twisting sensation as my conditioned mind yields to the truth. During these moments of recognition the truth of the one Self is so obvious that it is absurd to consider otherwise.

I can liken the sensation of recognition to gazing at one of those computer-generated two dimensional images and the embedded three-dimensional image pops out. The eyes have to align themselves in a new way and hold that position in order to perceive the hidden figure.

It is amazing to my conditioned mind how I could be the same in all. In an ongoing effort to consolidate this new way of perceiving, I am making the effort to replace any expression of self-importance immediately with the expansive feeling of love and forgiveness. There is little chance of me having any glimpse of the Self while I'm letting the ego have its own way.

This is the age where error is the standard.

Thank God we have access to something infinitely more rewarding.

Love,
Michael

D. R. Butler said...

Jimi, I forgot to mention that I agree that the first two years are practically egoless. It's from 3-7 that the egotistical self-centeredness starts to assert itself.

Anonymous said...

"Please don't try to impress me with your spirituality. At least around me, please be real, be your true self."
One thing about the ego it talks too much. So is it the ego writing this or my delighted self in finding so many people describing the gobbledeegook I have been feeling? Because I have been in gatherings where people meet to foster each other's god-awareness and end up talking of "the problem with the OTHER". Or they gather for a festival and it becomes a course in ritualistic interior decoration. So I go bond with trees instead. Once I was bonding with my tree and this woman came out of nowhere and said "you'll think I' mad but I have to hug this tree" So we hugged this tree and we were happy. Another time Mr Cloud showed up. He had bright white curly hair and a turquoise T-shirt and he looked like the day I was walking into. So I smiled at him and he smiled back before getting into a bright white car and driving off hooting and waving. So I waved back. And what about the countless times when things just happen because I wished them but had no research background nor expertise to pull them through but somehow they are perfect. If my ego is hiding It went to hide when I looked at my life and found the best things my ego could not take the credit for because they had happened by themselves. Where to find it? why should I want to? There is certainly no accident anywhere. Why am I saying this? because the ego needs to talk? or because I am happy to share my beautiful sunset? but why? you can all see it equally well so why talk?

D. R. Butler said...

Anonymous, I wonder why you continue to post anonymously. I presume you are still the one who said you didn't want to open a google account to post, but you don't need a google account to post, you only need to write in your name. Or maybe you are another anonymous. In the beginning of the blog I tried numbering them, so I guess you'd be about anonymous #54 or something.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Sometimes I think "Anonymous" is really just part of the collective consciousness expressing itself as if it were someone. When really it is just imaginary. Fun to read though!

D. R. Butler said...

If you'd read as much stuff from people as I have over the last 40 years, you'd see it starts to sound like the same One expressing all Its potential thoughts and feelings through thousands of voices and names and personalities. There's no one 'else' to write or share.

What a Game.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha! so there you have it! Collective conciousness in action! And there I have it:I stay anonymous because you already know who I am. Also having failed miserably to shut up the ego I can only distance myself from it through anonymity. Because from where I am only the ego needs to connect through speech... the rest is already connected in "the space between two thoughts" or two google posts. So I need to practice silence in order to stay connected. This should be easy now with the holiday so close and nobody can talk underwater!!! Not even my ego. Wahey!! And I shall lock that ego in the cellar and hope it doesn't drink all the wine because then you'll know if there is any post from this particular anonymous 54(?) it is definately the ego
Lots of love

D. R. Butler said...

Yet what if the heart yearns to express openly--heart to heart.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Anonymous wants to have a heart-I can tell.

Renee said...

Anonymous 54, I'm grateful to you for posting anything at all. I wonder about the act of posting, too. If I really got it, or if were really working on it, I wouldn't have anything to say. Everything I say just shows how much I let my ego get away with.

I just received Lesson 6 and I've met my match. In each lesson before now, I saw something from which I could catch a glimmer. This lesson is blowing me away. Did anyone else who has already done the early part of the course have the same experience with this lesson? Does everyone have this experience with some lesson along the way, but for each of us it might be a different lesson? I guess I'm wondering how universal my experience is.

Isn't that strange? Such an undisciplined mind. I am watching my thoughts and they are saying "Ack! I don't get it!"

I feel like Luke when Yoda says, "I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience...He is not ready."

Breathe in...breathe out. Let it go.

Karen Jo Shapiro said...

Hello, I have been reading this wonderful interchange... I have had a sincere question in my heart, it's been also percolating in my mind as well but I haven't been sure how to word it-- it goes back to the thread about the individual soul vs. the universal consciousness, and the experience of merging as well as the sense of having a beloved relationship.

Ram, I am going to put it in a poem-- as if written to a treasured friend- could you answer the question in it for me/us ?
*********
We've been together through lifetimes now,
I'm sure of that though I don't know how.

We'll help each other get free, break through,
but I still want to have Forever with you.

So I ask....when my own individual soul,
merges into the conscious whole...

will you still be my dear beloved Friend?
Can we have Forever? Does it have to end?

When you and I blend into the conscious whole,
will I still be able to love your soul?

Anonymous said...

Agh! now it has a name! Anonymous 54 here! Hallo all!!! Renee you certainly have a way with words. Often in your posts I see my thoughts expressed perfectly. In fact that's just the thing: I browse around in literature, facebook, lessons, blog and everything has been said. When I have questions they are either resolved magically through other people's writings or I can work them out through slight brain muscle exercise. I had exactly the same feeling as you with lesson 6 it felt as if the sun had just risen. The previous lessons were on a different plain and I felt I had to reread them skipping the depictions of our disfunctional lives...too painful to read about. Lesson six was like curtains of light over curtains of light opening over each other. D.R. the heart is funny. You mention somewhere the violin prodigy who was asked how she did it and forgot. I felt like that at the start of the course when suddenly I could see nothing just because I was prompted to see. Now I have got my head round the concious practice and amazing things are happening but not consistently and I often loose my footing and feel like Harshada's ice skating person. Soon I will be an expert skater and do my loops without falling but for now I will focus on observing my brothers the queer fish. Thank you all for your reassurances and patience. I am very grateful to you for your input and nothing I can say can show this.
Lots of love
Anonymous 54 (wink)

rico said...

Talking about this spiritual stuff is very enjoyable. Some of us post because it's fun. The ego only gets involved if we entertain the idea that it's this individual who is doing the talking.

Renee, we can all relate to your experience. The thing is, it's not really about intellectually understanding what's written. It's about tuning into the space behind the words. When we tune in often enough, when we re-read the words often enough a strange thing happens; eventually the words start to make sense.

Anonymous #288 (AKA Chris) said...

Renee, there may be things about a particular lesson, but it's also about how open we are in the moment. I'm on lesson 22, and I have seen with several of the lessons that the first one or two readings were sort of ho-hum, yadda yadda, same old same old, but then I come back and read it again and because I'm in a place that's open - I get SO much out of it!

I think this is what Ram means by seeing what's new in it. If we're open, we can see the teachings as new, as alive and as pertinent to us in this moment. At other times, I know that for me at least, I can read along and kind of catch a buzz from the Shakti, but not really go deep into it.

So maybe this should be my prayer as I begin each leesson: May I be open to perceive what is True in this lesson to help me to be fully aware in the present moment.

Lisa said...

Renee, I also enjoy your posts and your perspective on things. In fact there are several among our blog community that I look forward to hearing from. What a great group of people to discuss spiritual matters with, or rather, life from a spiritual perspective.

Yes, I had a similar experience with Lesson 6. I am further on in the course now, and I can truly say that I have had this same experience on several other lessons, even moreso than I did with Lesson 6.

I remember when I was younger, there were certain musical groups or voices that you just had to be into or you were just out of it.

Three that come to mind immediately were the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. All my friends and I were really into their music when it was new, like it was the revealing of the scriptures or something, and we would wait for their new albums with great excitement and anticipation.

For a period of several years, while such musicians were at their heights, each time one of them came out with a new album, it would totally blow our minds. It would be something that far surpassed anything that had ever been done before, and was far beyond anything we could have possibly anticipated.

This is the way I experience many of D.R.'s lessons. One will hit me, and it will just blow my mind, as Renee said, and seem to be so far beyond anything I'd ever grasped before. He speaks of seeing everything as new, but it really hits you when it's so totally new that you can hardly wrap your mind around it.

I remember when I first read Lesson 24, I thought: this is the ultimate lesson. Everything worthwhile to know is contained in this one.

Then when I got Lesson 25, it totally blew me away. It seemed it was taking the whole course up to an entirely new level. I've often noticed that when beginning a new year, or a new section of the course, something hits you like something really significant is going on. It's like a divine initiation on some level.

That's my experience of the lessons of the course, at any rate. Thank all of you for sharing so much of yourselves here, and for being so open and honest in your sharings. There is a true feeling of family here, in the deepest sense.

Deb said...

DR, I am on Lesson 22 where you discuss remembering yourself while dreaming. Is it important to dream and work from this plane?

I use to keep a dream journal and would try to catch the tail of what I had dreamed before getting out of bed, so that I could remember and record it. I dreamed nightly.

Then I got on a spiritual path, and stopped dreaming. I fall asleep meditating and have no recall of dreaming and haven't for years. (With the exception of the rare, spiritual dream that is so vivid that you know it holds special meaning for you.)

I thought that state of deep, dreamless sleep was progress. But now I'm wondering if dreams aren't an important aspect of the work coming up, and if I need to make efforts to dream and remember?

I did set the intention to remember to look at my hand in a dream last night, but what I remember seeing when I woke up was you looking at your hand in my dream. OY...

D. R. Butler said...

Deb, don't impose any importance on dreams. They are mostly subtle (astral) experience on the various subtle planes (subtle world is infinitely more varied than the physical world). If there is any 'meaning' in them, it has to do with the primary feeling in the dream. How did you feel about it and during it? From such contemplation new things might be learned and understood.

The exercise of remembering to look at your hand during a dream is to help connect you with the turiya state, which exists without interruption in the waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states. It's not an exercise you'll be 'graded' on. It's just another way of experiencing that in you that remains the same in the waking, dream, and deep sleep states.

The same Awareness of Being observes the activities of the waking state, the dream state, and the incredible stillness of the deep sleep state, enabling us to report in the morning, 'I was in deep sleep. I was beyond even the dream state.'

Anonymous said...

"don't impose any importance on dreams."
Ahhh! Needed to see this this morning...have this horrible aftertaste trying to get rid of. I also stole Karen's Poem (thanks Karen). Now where did I steal this one from?

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look at me: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird whose wings are still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope,
the rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that are alive.
Courtesy of DR

Divya said...

Dear Ram,

Thanks for the comments on not becoming anyone. I have not been in a profession where I need to promote my product before. I am noticing that I need to expand the people that I know. Meet more people, set up a website, be videotaped etc...I literally have to force myself to do these things.

Your distinguishment of promoting the course and promoting yourself as two different things. You focus on the first and ignore the second.I got it!

Thank you!

Renee said...

I think I see why I felt I was hitting a wall with Lesson 6 – I needed to go back and read Lesson 5 about ten more times. I had read it a few times and then lost it, thinking, “That’s Ok. I do the egotistical melodrama thing here and there, but that’s not really my problem.” When I received Lesson 6, I reprinted it at the same time and have been reading them together for a week.

Now I see that my ego is always on in my head. It’s not just when I’m reacting to my husband or kids in an obvious way, but also in little interactions when I momentarily resist responding to the needy child or feel irritated as they drag their feet. (Thus, it is always on!)

Shortly after rereading Lesson 5 and 6 a bunch of times, I got to have another wonderful, extended confrontation with my husband over the same things we always bicker about. It starts with something small. He makes a comment. My ego takes offense and lashes out. His takes offense to my reaction and we’re off and running. We have the same positions every time. The details that kick it off are different, but it’s always the same fight.

This time I saw the ego planning its next move. (“I just need five minutes! Why is that so much to ask?”) By looking at the thought, it would sizzle out instead of spiraling up and up till I was worked into a frenzy of self-righteousness like I usually am. Then the next predictable thought came up. (“You have no idea what I’ve been through today!”) Again, because I was looking right at it, it sputtered and went out. This happened over and over, just as Ram said it would. I could see the ego cast about, dredging up anything it could to keep the fire going. My thoughts went on like this all evening (I think his did too) and I woke up the next day, noting that we were both simmering but civil. We both knew it was not over. It was not resolved. I never have known how to resolve it. Usually we just give up and play different roles after a while, never getting to the bottom of our issues because it’s too hard to talk through the egos’ war. They are so noisy and insistent!

Kristopher Stillwell said...

I love the explanation of connecting to the turiya state in dreams. In the early days of meditation I often had such experiences of the one who never goes or comes. They were full and profound. Your words DR help me recall as well that in dream states I have most often been more aware of the one watching the dream than the dream. Seems to be a place with consistency I have touched the turiya state. I'll take this one step further and say that in my waking state what has always felt like home is this space so I take this course to move further into that unbroken recognition. My home. The home.

Renee said...

So my questions are, what is the difference between the ego and samskaras? I could imagine that episode being driven by either one. Maybe it doesn't matter since I have an approach that is working for now. Maybe they are English and Sanskrit for basically the same thing?

And, how do you convince someone you are taking them seriously when you now are able to see the situation as amusing? Do you keep the amusement to yourself and maintain a serious affect? I can see this is something that I am going to need a lot of practice to see it more clearly more consistently.

JohnRama said...

On the topic of death, I have family members and close friends who have passed on and have found myself fairly aware of them on the subtle level. I have the impression that most souls on the other side are just standing around so-to-speak while a few who have dedicated themselves to serving others have a purpose. A dear friend who has dying told me she wanted to keep living so that she could write a book to help others. I told her she could help alot more people on the other side than she could while in the body. After she passed, I felt her presence and with so many years of sadhanna she was a very powerful presence, in fact, I was filled with her grace and began repeating the mantra. I could sense that she was going to Siddha loka to mediate and chant with the great beings and again felt her presence at the mediation center, which she lovely so dearly. She was filled with a great delight in serving in this way. I can't say that I have too much interest in returning to this place and hope that I too may serve in some way although I know that I have more incarnations to get done so the only thing that gives me the courage to endure them is knowing that I have God's grace. I would rather just not exist at all and when the body returns not have any interest in this world while keeping my attention on the inner Self. Now I understand why a great being can do that and not be concerned about "helping" anyone. It all seems to becoming more clear. All I have to do is think of Baghawan and I am drawn inward to the Self where he dwells.

Sylvia in Colorado said...

On Kay's birthday TODAY, I want to join the stream of great love and respect sent from all parts of the globe. Happy birthday and countless blessings to Ram and Kay, and to the priceless value of this course/blog.

Having taken almost the entire previous course, and the in-between, one-year course, plus several others (benefited from all of them)...still Ram writing this new course has answered one of my deepest longings in the years Ram was in exile. It is a joy to read that you are in such a happy, contented and "balmy" state. Lastly, happy anniversary, you two love birds. Much love, Sylvia

Scott Marmorstein said...

If you believe you have more lifetimes, you're right. The ego needs to hold onto an imaginary future which is fueled by a dead past.

To stop reincarnating (I don't know what's so wrong with this world anyway, and it wouldn't be horrible to return) you would really have to work on Being totally Present. When the past doesn't matter and when the future is conceptual at best, Reality could easily hold you in Siddhaloka forever.

Renee said...

As my questions echo back across the ether, I hear the answers echoing back...

"Be still. Listen."

Close?

Anonymous said...

Renee silence is good! Echo is magic. My ego believes I am the mother of all temper control (loads of practice). Seriously I suppose you have seen these but may i draw your attention to these images. DR compares samskaras to rocks falling in the dark waters of the soul. I have been just watching and listening to this quiet, dark, echoing cave and the occasional splashing...if that doesn't give you peace try: Harshada's bubble problems and his pop...pop...pop...; tried that one on a little person with a big personality and some real bubbles thinking chasing bubbles would diffuse the tension. That didn't work so last time she exploded I started making popping sounds with my lips...that worked...she hasn't exploded in two weeks. And I haven't despaired with my motherhood ability in as long:D

rico said...

If we are here now (not thinking about what we are going to say next) in the middle of an argument then the other party can (if they aren't totally distracted by the melodrama) sense our respectful listening even if we find it amusing. It takes a lot of discipline to monitor one's reactions and not get carried away by them.

What I have noticed as a participant in a number of shouting matches is that often when one party suddenly realizes the absurdity of the situation and smiles the smile is often reflected back. Sometimes the shouting will end in a fit of laughter from both parties sometimes the shouting will continue but with a smile on both our faces and sometimes the shouting will continue unabated by the unamused party until it's worn out.

Karen Jo said...

I posted a question within a poem a few days ago- Ram would you be able to answer for me? I'll try to consolidate it into a prose question...

In the final merging, will we still be able to have that experience of loving our beloved one(s), of a soul to soul connection? Even as we experience oneness? I find myself hoping this will be true, but maybe it is attachment or even will become an irrelevant question?
It's really hard for me to put this into words.

The following poem is a sharing for everyone that I wrote today for fun.

Getting to Now

There’s only NOW.
I read these words,
And really try to understand.

To KNOW the future and the past,
exist like pictures in the sand.

They SEEM so real there, in my Mind:
The things I’ve done, the things I’ve planned.
NOW can I let them go and find--
There’s only NOW?

And NOW is Grand.

Michael said...

Karen,
I really enjoy the way your soul's evolution takes shape in your poetry -- thank you for sharing with us. A friend recently posted this quote from Saint Jane Frances de Chantal (d.1641):
‎"Must you continue to be your own cross? No matter which way God leads you, you change everything into bitterness by constantly brooding over everything. For the love of God, replace all this self-scrutiny with a pure and simple glance at God's goodness."
I spent most of my life thinking the quickest path of self-improvement was to "work on" my so-called fault and reprove myself for my shortcomings. Reward and punishment, you know. Now I'm beginning to understand that the Reward can only be enjoyed now, not later, and that the Reward sees and loves me the way i have so longed to be seen and loved.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Such gratitude again and again for the tuning in space we share. Today reading my latest lesson and now, some time after, I experience such deep contentment and satisfaction as, over the years I have with your courses, DR. It is not a different awareness than transpires with not reading the course lessons but reading is always an intensification of that space. I used to believe this heightened awareness was simply "the course" but today I had a thought of perhaps it's the commitment to the space itself. The distinction may be irrelevant.
A question/comment again DR about "activation of will": Over the past several years through subtle and progressively more tangible experiences I am noticing this ability arising to simply choose-'I don't want to think right now". It's not a perfect will to not think but often it works. I have been so pleased by the positive revolution this has created. Part of what I find useful in the course is a strengthening of this capacity through understanding and continued vigilance. It seems always with the mind and the spanda of thought there is an optimal moment of choice as the thought unfurls before thought processes start to "spin out of control" like a runaway train. I wondered if you might comment on your experience of this. I realize with a greatly advanced yogi or practitioner perhaps it makes no difference when they interject the will to enter into silence, currently for me it seems to make a difference.

D. R. Butler said...

Amazing as it might seem, I've been busy. There are more and more participants beginning the course each month, more stuff to respond to, more questions to answer, and a lot of other life-stuff as well, as karma kicks its way through the physical entanglement we call our life.

We've already broken our all time record for number of comments following an entry. So there is more and more activity here, which is fantastic, and which obviously can sustain itself for a while even when I'm unable to contribute or respond. Others seem to fill in nicely at the perfect times, and the Shakti takes care of all. I'll see if I can 'catch up' a bit.

Renee asked: "So my questions are, what is the difference between the ego and samskaras? And, how do you convince someone you are taking them seriously when you now are able to see the situation as amusing? Do you keep the amusement to yourself and maintain a serious affect?"

The samskaras enact their influence and power over us through the tandem of mind and ego. Therefore, purifying the mind and ego is the same process as breaking free from samskaras. Like many other things, it's only two different ways of understanding the same thing.

I don't do very much to convince people that I am taking them seriously, as I'm rarely taking them seriously in the least--and almost never as seriously as they are taking themselves. I can be appropriate, say if I'm at a funeral or a wake or something, I don't go around all jolly and encouraging people to see the humor in things in their grief.

I actually don't ever try to convince anyone of anything. If they're happy with their own understanding and vision, I'm already happy. Even so, sometimes I do keep my amusement to myself. Sometimes it actually is best to not display your amusement. So I spend a lot of time secretly amused.

Karen Jo, when I first read your beautiful poem I was so moved that I wanted to respond poetically in return, but things kept coming up and I never found poem-time, so since you've resorted to prose I'll at least address your question.

Yes, the question is hard to put in words, and the answer is hard to put in words as well. Perhaps that's why I waited so long before I began to procrastinate.

You see, the thing is that no one has ever yet been separate. There has always been only Oneness. Even when we are totally lost in the apparent reality of duality, Oneness is real all the time whether we consciously recognize it or not.

So our loved ones--the ones we hope to spend eternity with--are only expressions of that Oneness, or of the eternal Beloved. The Beloved is ultimately always the same, no matter which form or forms we recognize It in. In truth, It lives in and animates all beings, and there is no one else, and certainly no one separate from it.

The outer, objective world is only a mirror of our own subjective consciousness. The One lives in all, and all are in the One.

In the 'Spanda Karikas,' a major text of Kashmir Shaivism, it is said: "One who knows the Self sees the entire universe as a series of reflections in a mirror."

Since there is no separation between you and your loved ones now, why should there come to be any separation later? Will we be less aware or appreciative of our loved ones in the next realm than we are in this one? No, we will be more aware of them, closer to them, and will experience more intimacy than what is possible in this dense physical world with its limitations of space, time, and circumstances. These bodies can only get so close. The subtle world is far-out and limitless.

Love is eternal. We are love. We are eternal. All that exists is the Truth of the Present Moment. The trick lies in understanding the fullness of exactly what that means on the very highest level.

Karen Jo said...

Thank you, Ram, for this beautiful response and what you said about my poem.

I know I will be reading and re-reading what you wrote, - the energy of it already speaks to me, and I feel a sense of peace and comfort in these words.

Blessings...

Renee said...

I love seeing new comments! I hope this one doesn't follow D.R.'s directly as his is so expansive and beautiful. But I am where I am.

On the lighthearted side, I don't know how many out there are raising little kids, but I found something that really helped me today. I had seen in Fierce Grace an interview with someone describing the Maharaj-ji as saying to all the Westerners who showed up something like, "Go away, Ram" which I take to mean that he saw the divine in everyone, even those he didn't feel like talking to. That sometimes the divine can come pester you.

Today, I was trying to use this, to see everyone as a manifestation of the divine. If it wasn't easy, I would call them Ram in my head. So when I needed a shot of patience and lightheartedness, I was saying to my kids, "Ram, stop taunting your brother." And "Ram, if you don't sit in your chair, I will take away your scissors."

I love this stuff. Thank you all and every one. Thank you for showing me how beautiful (and humorous) it is in the present moment.

Kathy said...

I would like to ask a question about practicing being present and maintaining our own state in a way that is more pleasant and light rather than being run by samskaras.

I have some neighbors who let their cats use my yard as a litter box and I have honestly exhausted all my more diplomatic efforts and strategies to deter them, etc. And also taken a good look at what is getting triggered by being in proximity with some people who are a lot less considerate than I'd like.

So essentially I can't change the situation right now. And I am just feeling really frustrated every time I see and smell the piles of cat poo.

You are saying to change that feeling but I don't know how. Will you please suggest one thing I can try to come into harmony with the situation as it is?

D. R. Butler said...

Donate a sandbox or sand pile to your neighbors. Put it right between your land, or even mostly on their side. Cats love to go in the sand, where they can cover their leftovers easily, and will gravitate to it as their 'special place.' Then the rest of your yard should be safe.

jimi said...

Renee said, " It seems always with the mind and the spanda of thought there is an optimal moment of choice as the thought unfurls before thought processes start to "spin out of control" like a runaway train. I wondered if you might comment on your experience of this."

Well, I felt like you had just written the answer to your own question. That was an excellent description of keeping our eyes on our thoughts. Some call that "vigilance" .....and me too actually.

Renee said...

Kathy, I am intrigued by your problem. I could work with seeing this as an amusing play of the divine enacted to teach me something...but then again, cat feces can carry diseases and such. I wouldn't be able to be in harmony with it as an on-going problem either.

I might be able to come to accept the poop that is already there as it is obvious that it's already there. No sense in resisting the present.

But I would get a cat deterrent product and see if that helps for the future.

I'm ordering this one today, to protect the kids' sandbox from our barn cat. We have a tarp over it, but he has found the sand that is naturally spilled on the outside edges, and I know it is only a matter of time before a kid is digging in there and finds a surprise.

And since you mentioned pleasant and light, jokes always work for me, and here's what I was laughing about as I considered your problem: I know a dog that eats cat poop with relish. (I know, so disgusting!) If I lent him to you, the dog could "return" the poop to their yard, slightly used. How's that for karma? (I'm just kidding! But imagining their faces when you told them "It's not my dog's poop in your yard. It's your cat's poop, slightly altered, but returned just the same. I thought you should have it back.")

http://www.critter-repellent.com/cat/cat-deterrent.php

Good luck!

Kristopher Stillwell said...

There has to be some great metaphorical allusion here to all of our spiritual lives with the and the sandbox, the poo, and the neighbors. I'm just not sure what it is.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Jimi the comment about the unfurling of thoughts was mine not Renee's. Yes, I agree I kind of answered my own question. I wanted to entreat DR as he might have something to say about his experience here having more than I. I have not by any means perfected a consistently effective approach.

Taylor said...

D.R.,
You refer to rajas guna as the pull toward action for the sake of stimulation. Would this include cravings for chai and coffee? I love the taste of them however I find the stimulation too much for my body. I'm down to one decaf latte on the weekend!

D. R. Butler said...

I would think that the cravings for and indulgence in stimulants are definitely a manifestation of rajas guna.

Rajas guna is energy given to purposeless or undirected activity, for the sake of movement and stimulation. So we would ingest a stimulate primarily to be able to partake of rajas guna even more fully.

rico said...

Hey Kristopher

It's not that there is an "optimal moment of choice". You either nip it in the bud or you don't.

Sometimes the thought or emotional wave is to powerful and the best thing to do is just get out of the way and surf the wave rather than get churned up in it by identifying with it.

We always have the option of watching the movie play out. We don't always have a choice in which movie is playing.

The trick is to remember it's a movie.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Well put Rico. I read what you wrote several times and am absorbing it. Thank you.

I am struck profoundly DR by a casual comment in the intro to this months blog. Paraphrasing: I would not change a thing in my life, I'm satisfied exactly the way it is.

This is profound to me and here's why:

A little background. Several years ago I was fortunate to participate in my grandfathers process of dying in his last days. He died successfully with surrender and grace. It seemed so complete to me and I began contemplating how "ready" to go (with practical details)I am or am not. I feel I have a responsibility to not be a burden to the ones I leave behind in death who might be responsible to take care of the body, personal affects, etc. In that way actions must be performed as to financial preparation, etc. In thinking I was living for "now" so much of my life I've never done the typical things folks might do like save money, etc. to take care of the inevitable financial uncertainties and unpredictabilities in life. It has been very challenging keeping my eye on the 'prize" and doing the worldly things required to take care of the body, etc. How can/do these seemingly incongruous realities coexist? For me they have not coexisted very well. At times I have simply avoid basic life stuff that I am now reminded of with the inevitableness of physical aging. If I simply "Let go and let God" "who" takes care of this stuff?

rico said...

This path, D.R's interpretation of an approach to life as old as time, is simplicity itself. Just Be Here Now. Of course it's easier said than done but all of Sadhana leads to focusing one's attention completely on the present Moment. Is this not what leaving it to God really means, to abandon what we think is going on and see what really is. If we can bring our attention fully to this moment we know intuitively what's the dharmic action to take.

We don't know what Karma may come our way. All we can do is flow with it as smoothly as possible. As the big man always says "You can't control what happens to you but you can control what happens in you". The optimal way to live one's life from this Moment forward is to Be Here Now. If you can do that then everything will take care of itself.

D. R. Butler said...

IN HONOR OF GURU PURNIMA

"God, Guru, and Self are One."

"The Guru is the grace-bestowing power of God"

O beloved Guru,
Thank you for my beautiful life
Thank you for my lovely wife
Thank you for our loving home
And for doggie Meggie who knows not to roam

Everything's gone better than I could have dreamed
And the Guru is much more than the Guru once seemed
Thank you for your blessings and love
Thank you for all the above
Thank you for all that you do
And for this day that we honor You.

jimi said...

Rico said, "It's not that there is an "optimal moment of choice". You either nip it in the bud or you don't. "

You may be right. Could be an all or nothing thing. I sort of see it in a slightly different light however. This is just what I think MY experience is: The moment a negative thought surfaces IS the "optimal moment". That's because negative thoughts, especially highly charged ones, gather momentum very quickly...exponentially even. To me that means that if I don't catch the thought in that 1st moment, I still have a chance in the "2nd moment" but it's a LOT harder. Every moment I let it go, it is getting more & more out of control. Doesn't take long at all (seconds) before I am swept away by the negativity... sometimes for many hours. This is why vigilance is very important. I was told this many years ago by my guru, but I didn't know what she was talking about then. I do now.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Happy Gurupurnima to all!
Thanks for the kind and wise words Rico. Certainly we are fortunate to be of service to each other.

On a very important note I have learned that no matter what I think or feel, no matter my life circumstances no teacher or Guru is going to be responsible for or fix me. It is and always will be my choice and duty to lift myself up. With that in mind today I do just that by honoring and thanking my teachers and my Sadguru. Thank you Guruji for revealing the path and opening the gates.

Thank you DR for your persistent and detailed articulation of the way. I am truly grateful.

rico said...

Jimi, we don't disagree. My point was that if you are looking for an optimal moment then your attention is on something other than vigilance. If your attention is on watching (vigilance) then even if the thought or emotion has a life of it's own it will have less impact and will lose some of it's hold on you.

Even if one gets by the nippers it can still be watched as it unfolds. The first step in getting free from those thoughts and emotions that over power us is a step back.

D. R. Butler said...

Re Rico's comment, July 24, 6:33pm:

Rico has been reading my writings and taking my courses for 33 years. It's easy to tell from his comments and responses to others. Some of his responses literally sound like they're coming from me. This particular comment demonstrates extraordinary understanding of what the course is and what it's all about.

Happy Guru Purnima to all!

Renee said...

Ram, remember the comment from 2008 where you mentioned the experience of all the people with headphones and a microphone and eventually you were all one Self with all these voices? This blog is like that too. Jimi and Rico to me are often "that voice". I liked how often I saw their names pop up when I was copying over the comments to my document. It's like touching your mother's dress as you venture out into the unknown. Ah, here is safety. Here is home.

D. R. Butler said...

Renee, I know exactly what you mean. Imagine how much it feels like 'coming home' when you've known both of them over 30 years. Interestingly, they live 3,000 miles away from each other and have never met. Yet here in the blog voices meet, mingle, and blend--just like the experiment I partcipated in back in Greenwich Village in the early 70's that you referred to in your comment.

When I used to travel and lead weekend workshops it felt like I was 'coming home' everywhere I arrived, and seeing people once a year had the same feeling as just having seen them yesterday, as though no time had passed. Much of the 'core' of the community that participated in my course and workshops in those early days are now participating in, or at least reading, these comments as we speak. It is an awesome feeling. To say these people feel like family is somehow an understatement of the feeling.

Rico and Jimi are both down-to-earth and completely unpretentious people. No one would look at either of them, or me, and think that any of us were the least bit 'spiritual.' Yet we never can tell from appearances what might shine in a person's soul, or what wisdom he or she might have. To me both are great representatives of what the course is all about.

So are you, and you just began.

Guy B. said...

Hi Ram. I read your blog since last December. I feel very good when I read it because it is full of life. There are a lot of answers to many questions from people and in your own comments, many answers we couldn't have in the paper version in the old time.
A few days ago, I was talking with a devotee on a question we usually don't talk about in our path: Do the path we are in have produced siddhas in people since we have received the teachings from our first teacher...in 1970 or so? I exclude people who live full time in ashrams for years.
Thank you.

D. R. Butler said...

Guy, this is a complex question. First of all, how could I or anyone else possibly know? We can't tell another's state by the way he looks or behaves. He (or she of course) could appear totally ordinary in all ways, or totally off the wall and weird as all getout. ('Getout' might be a southern expression--I'm not sure.) There is no outer gauge that allows us to know where another is spiritually.

I imagine that some people are more advanced than anyone might imagine, while others are not nearly as advanced as many might assume.

Why do you not include people who live in ashrams? Are they automatically in or out? Often the people who appear closest to the Teacher are simply those that need guidance and protection the most. There are some amazingly deluded people living in ashrams, while some very close to enlightenment live in the world as apparently ordinary people.

There is something in this question that I wish people would look at. The only 'path' I can truly speak for is the 'path' of participating in the course I teach--in all its various forms and manifestations.

I am not in any position to speak officially for any other path in the world. People of many different paths take the course and read the blog. It's not like it's some 'offshoot' of another path.

Many people here know I officially represented a certain path for many years. I no longer represent or can speak for that path in any way.

All I am qualified or 'authorized' to speak about are the principles of Truth that can be applied in practical ways in our own daily life.

Anyway, there might be Siddhas where you least expect them, and no Siddhas at all where you assume they might be. Who knows? The only state we can truly speak about, and the only one that is actually relevant, is our own.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

DR, weird as all getout was a common expression in my very northeastern bred family. Perhaps its more pervasive than the south or else mine had southern roots I'm unaware of...thanks for making me laugh.

ari said...

Perhaps one way this course differs from your old one is I feel you push us to practise the principles in a real life way. Being somewhat lazy I wasnt that crazy about it but I do give mostly what you teach a decent try. Some more then others.

I did practise quite a bit the exercise you offered quite some time ago about how we would like to see ourselves in a year's time. It made me realize I've been mostly a "background" guy most of my life in terms of social or work settings. I dont become fully alive unless I'm with people I'm really comfortable with. I acknowledge it's a samskara to a degree and also my nature to a degree.
I thought it would benefit me to become more confident and outspoken dealing with stressful work situations. Both "code blue" type situations and interpersonal work communication.

Looking back over the year I can tell you I've come a long way. I feel much more confident in the described situations. In fact it made me realize in the past I had talked or imagined myself most of the time into contracted feelings. So it wasnt the situations that created the feelings. It was first my feelings that began the chain of events.

JohnRama said...

It seems living in the truth of the present moment requires great vigilance. Once while at a sympthony concert I decided to pretend to be Shiva listening rather than my ordinary self. Then I felt myself having the chance to completely forget myself sort of the feeling of jumping off a ledge into the vast void, with a little faith, I took the leap. I felt for an instant the feeling of infinity. When I came out of meditation I felt that infinity in my heart. There weren't any draw backs that I can see to living in that truth in every moment. I can't logically give a reason for wanting to live a live lost in thoughts, worries or drama.... Thank you D.R. for the grace of this course that supports my intention of living in the truth of the present moment.

Renee said...

Laughing about being excited to read more about the present tomorrow!