Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Story of My Life (Autobiography of a Nobody)

I feel like doing something a little different this month. Ever since sometime in my 40’s (and it still feels weird to me that I’m older than that now) I’ve had this title in my mind, ‘Autobiography of a Nobody.’ If I were to ever write the story of my life, it seemed, it would be the perfect title.

I doubt I’ll ever get around to the long version, but I decided I would finally use the title in the August entry of our blog, and instead of resorting to my usual impersonal approach of focusing on the principles of Truth, I would share my memoirs here and now—just as a change of pace—and probably much to Kay’s great chagrin.

I was born in the same room, and delivered by the same doctor, that had delivered my mother 22 years earlier. My first two years were spent in the middle of cotton fields. After that, my parents moved to the city of Vicksburg, MS, where I grew up and attended high school. My home overlooked the mighty Mississippi. At that time it seemed like the most perfect place in the world to be a child and teenager.

I discovered yoga and meditation at the age of 15. Even to this day it is somewhat of a mystery to me how I actually discovered it or began. No one I knew practiced it or knew anything about it. I told one of my friends that I was practicing yoga, and he said, ‘Oh, that’s where they lay on a bed of nails, isn’t it?’

I began taking a correspondence course at 15 that I continued until its completion when I was 29. It was written in the 50’s by a man in his 80’s, who had spent 17 years in a hidden lamasery in Tibet, until his Master told him to take the teachings of Truth to the West during the years of the Great Depression, and to help the people learn to prosper again and get free from the poverty, lack, and loss of the times. He did this, and many of his students are today well known names.

In high school I also read ‘Autobiography of a Yogi,’ by Paramahansa Yogananda, which opened me to a different sort of world than I was used to, and also inspired the title of my own ‘autobiography.’

I continued my education in Jackson, MS, at Millsaps College, a private Methodist liberal arts college that was the liberal stronghold in Mississippi at the time, as well as the state’s most prestigious academic institution. I took a ‘creative writing’ course taught by our ‘writer in residence,’ the great Eudora Welty. The first interracial marriage in Mississippi took place in our chapel when I was a student there, and we were all very proud of that. I majored in philosophy and English literature. I never knew why, or how I would ever ‘use it,’ until years later.

At 22, about a year after the unexpected death of my mother in an automobile accident, I moved from Mississippi to Greenwich Village. Actually, on my 22nd birthday, my girlfriend at the time took me to see the original cast of “Hair” as my first ever Broadway play. I don’t think, up until that point, I had ever enjoyed anything quite so much.

I worked for 3 years as a magazine editor in NYC, and then decided to focus on free-lance writing, of both articles and short stories. I had published my first short story at 20 while still living in Mississippi. During this period I was one of the very few people I had ever known who actually supported themselves as a writer.

I was gradually pulled back to my roots and my true love and began writing more about yoga and meditation and the creative power of the mind. I still feel it is important to understand the relationship between our thoughts and the process of creation—otherwise we don’t understand how and why things happen as they do.

One article was titled “As You Think, So You Are.” There were a great many people who wrote to me via the magazine to ask if I had any books, or if I wrote a course, and where could they get more of what I had written. The first lesson of the original course was mailed in August, 1975, in response to the people who had enjoyed the article and encouraged me to begin a course. So I began a more elaborate exploration of the principles presented in the article, and the course began to grow through word-of-mouth.

Around the same time, a Yoga Master from India, an authentic Shaktipat Guru, was going to be in Manhattan for a few weeks. All the teachers I most looked up to encouraged me to be sure and go to see him, insisting that he was very special and ‘the real thing.’ A friend of mine, and at the time one of my teachers, was a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda. He told me that this one was the first genuine yogic Master that had come to the West since his own Guru.

Having no interest in a ‘Guru’ of my own, and feeling that I was already doing quite well in my sadhana, I went to see him out of curiosity. The first day I met him everything changed. My experience of myself changed. My perception of the world changed. The depth of my understanding was totally transformed. It was like entering another dimension of life. This was at 29, the ‘Saturn return,’ when we seemingly go from one incarnation into another.

I would spend the next 26 years writing a course exploring the principles of Truth, as I understood them, from the perspective of that particular path and lineage, as my seva or service offered to the Master and the mission. I traveled many places and led weekend workshops. I even taught meditation classes in India. I became a ‘spiritual teacher.’

My second Saturn return brought just as much change into my life as the first one had. In 2002 I ‘retired’ from the official position I had held all those years. I had a strong pull to ‘retire’ into privacy and seclusion. My life and my sadhana had been under public scrutiny for many years. I did not want to be anybody, and I certainly didn’t want to have to live up to being anyone in particular. I just wanted to relax and be me, take a breath, and not be needed.

I spent the next six years in virtual seclusion except for seeing immediate family. I spent as much time with my 3 children as I could. Kay and I married in 2003, after knowing each other since 1976, and her two children (and now two grandchildren) have become part of my own family.

Interestingly, Kay attended an Intensive I led at Ananda Ashram, in Monroe, NY, in 1977, when she was nine months pregnant with her daughter Tiffany, who today is maturing as a hatha yoga teacher and leader of others in her own right. Kay also was my children’s primary ‘babysitter’ all their lives—so our families always seemed to be a bit intermingled.

We currently live in a village of 90. There are actually more people in the cemetery, which we walk through from time to time, just as a reminder of how everything comes and goes. One of the original families that settled here were part of the famous ‘Tiffany’s’, and the tombstones of their descendents lie crumbling in the cemetery. You can actually see dates going back to the late 18th century, and then the names and dates sort of fade away. You see that when your tombstone finally crumbles into dust, you are truly ‘gone,’ almost as though you were never here. It gives some perspective.

No one in our village, which has one of the world’s smallest post offices, would dream of what I actually do or of what I spend my time writing. I honestly don’t know if they would be able to put the two together—my work and me—in any kind of comprehensible way. I imagine only people who participate in the course can actually grasp the essence behind the apparent paradox.

In 2008 I began the current course and this blog. I had given up being anyone’s ‘teacher’ six years earlier, and no longer cared to be in any such position, but I could still write, which has always been my first love. And what would I, now in my 60’s, have to say after starting all over from scratch? What would be my approach now? I couldn’t imagine, and was as curious as anyone to find out.

At that point, in the beginning, I couldn’t imagine that I had any more to say to anyone. Really, I had written years and years worth of lessons—which a swami friend once referred to as ‘the world’s longest book,’ and now I was to begin all over with Lesson 1? What to do? What to say? How to begin now? And what on earth would actually be worth anyone’s time to read when so much good stuff is already available?

Once I began, it was like riding a bicycle, and the words started pouring out of me. I don’t write with my mind. I don’t think about what I’m going to write beforehand. I cannot imagine outlining a lesson before I write it. I go to the computer and start writing, and I’m as amazed as anyone else at what comes out.

Sometimes I am ‘writing’ (which is more like taking dictation) and I find myself thinking, ‘I never heard that before. I wonder where that comes from?’ Yet it is always intuitively obvious and not worth doubting.

I have said for a while that I have reached a point where everything is either intuitively obvious or not worth thinking about. I don’t think a lot. I find that useless and purposeless thinking tends not only to dissipate creative energy, but also ultimately leads to agitation, and it’s no longer worth it. The secret was to lose interest in the constant activity of my own mind. I replaced that with maintaining a strong center in the heart, a center of feeling. I enjoy love and light much more than being lost in perpetual thought.

I usually direct my thinking process into this blog and the lessons of the course. And now there’s Facebook, an amazing phenomenon I never anticipated, especially regarding the inherent possibilities of an ongoing real-time satsang—meeting together in the heart and mind for the purpose of experiencing the Self we all share.

August is the beginning of the 3rd year of the course and blog. We have come a long way and accomplished a lot during the first two years, on the level of coming and going and accomplishing. For those about to complete their first two years of the course, a solid foundation has been established, so that what is to come next can be strong, stable, and unquestioned right from the beginning.

My Teacher once told me, “Make the course so strongly rooted in the principles of Truth that no one can ever legitimately question or doubt it.”

The beauty of the course, to me, is its constant ever-awakening into something new—even for me. For me, what’s new is really new, even if it’s ancient. If you’re one who takes the course, you know that spiritual growth or personal development of any nature can only take place when we see, acknowledge, and appreciate what is new.

Focusing on what is old only makes us old before our time. Seeing what is new rejuvenates us and keeps us young.

As per my custom, I will conclude with a Q&A exchange from July’s comments. There are many outstanding exchanges among those comments, and I sincerely urge you to read through them. It is a great community that meets and shares comments here. However, it will be challenging to choose only one. This is a comment I posted July 22:

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 this 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. For now, however, I'll see if I can 'catch up' a bit.

Renee, a relatively new participant, asked: "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. It's simply two different ways of understanding the same thing.

I don't do very much at all 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 now 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 One, 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 true 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, much closer to them, and we will experience more intimacy than what is possible in this dense physical world with its limitations of space, time, and circumstance. 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, deepest, and most expanded level.

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

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

110 comments:

Philip said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. My favorite impression-thinking dissipates creative energies. How true that the more we think about something, the less authentic it becomes. Namaste~Philip

Camilla Shalini Dawson said...

Ram, thank you for your self disclosure...autobiographical nothingness...and the careful attention to Kay's potential reaction to what you shared here.
I am responding to the idea of having satsang here in a blog or on Facebook. My yearning to have satsang includes invoking the Name of my Guru by opening with SGMKJ! I long to express devotion openly and acknowledge my love for the Guru's physical form. If I can't chant the Guru's name here, I want to be able to type it in joyful praise. Hail to the True Guru! I like to play with the awareness of the Guru Principle that exists in 'my' Awareness through the spiritual practice of Gurubhav - a practice I am learning as a student on the path of yoga I have been on since 1976. I resist generic or Universal ..or allusions to this specific Path. I do not resist the teachings which suggest to me that there is a time and a place that most honors the sanctity of the Name. I understand (more or less) that although the Path and the Master need no defense or protection on my part, that it is my dharma to know when to speak and when to be silent.
Like you say, the heart is a much more delightful place to go and roam than the infinite creations of the mind. Our Teacher writes in part in one of the publications of his words, "O In-dweller, take away all of my sins. Grant me the wisdom to love You." The way to my heart is through my Guru. She bestows the grace that gives life to my devotion.
Ah...it seems that I have managed to feel like we're having satsang here on the blog.
Thank you, dear friend.

Colette said...

I was very touched by your sharing the chronology of your life with us. I so appreciate your generosity and love.
Thank you for everything. Karuna-Colette

Ekatman said...

Thank you, I have always have curious about your life, but I rarely ask much about it.

My curiosity comes out of my admiration.

I have always enjoyed your wit and the mysterious voice that seems to be talking through you.

Also have always been courious, about what is it that he drinks so much in between his speech.

In Lesson 12 you request not to share the contents of the lessons onwards. But as we go forward and our understanding deepens, how to maintain a good balance on encouraging others to "think positively" and to share our "transformation", our new understanding with the people we come across with?

I find it is an interesting exercise to keep our mouth shut as we develop, but to share some basic points... maybe I am anwering my self just here.

Do you have any thoughts on how to keep a good balance regarding this particular request?

D. R. Butler said...

Ekatman, I always drank either spring water or sparkling water, the latter my preference for talks.

There's a funny story, though. A total newcomer heard one of my talks in a course. At lunch with some others whom I knew and who shared the story with me, the new person said, "I don't understand why they would allow a person who's obviously totally intoxicated to give a talk. Not only that, he kept drinking all the way through his talk!"

If you wish to interest another in the course, the best thing to do is send that person a link to the blog. From the blog one can easily tell whether he or she might benefit from the course or not. Of course, sharing your own experiences and how you have benefitted from it also helps another to open up to the possibility of something new.

I have told participants of the course, such as yourself, that it is okay to share one or two or the early lessons with another to give them some idea of what the course is like, but to please not share anything past Lesson 12 with anyone who is not enrolled in the course. The reason is that they need to develop their own relationship with the course in order to benefit most from the later lessons.

The best way to 'pass the word' is to share the link to the blog.

Ari said...

Being in the latter part of your life, how do you view the end being more definite? What do you feel happens to us when we leave this earth. I have heard many speak of reincarnation. Between reincarnations do we live on another astral plane of existance? Can we possibly stay there? What are your thoughts on this?

D. R. Butler said...

Ari, you are close to the end of the second year of the course. How could you not know my 'thoughts' on what we experience following the transition from this world to the next.

We live even now in the subtle body, which entered this physical body on the first inhalation and departs on the final exhalation. All our feelings and thoughts take place in the subtle body, and it is what journeys from one physical body to the next, each time taking up spiritually where we left off in the last.

Yes, we spend time in the subtle world between incarnations, on subtle planes corresponding to our most habitual and predominant thoughts, feelings, interests, etc. Basically, the level on which we live now is pretty much the same level we will exist on then and there, when it has become here and now. Therefore now is the time for self-development, or self-mastery.

Kathy said...

I was wondering if you could elaborate on something that you say in Lesson 46. I am reading it over and over and waiting for the light to go on, but it's not happening. You state that a negative emotion is never related to or even relevant in the present moment. Then there are "now" feelings, feelings in alignment with the Truth of the present moment. They include all the higher qualities such as love, compassion, lightheartedness, etc...
Now why is it that these feelings (the pleasant ones) exist only in the present moment, even when they spring from a pleasant memory of the past. If they are all "feelings" don't they ultimately have the same site of origin whether they are positive or negative? Aren't they manufactured at the same plant so to speak.

D. R. Butler said...

Kathy, I understand what you are saying and what your question is. The answer, however, is very subtle. Don't think you will ever satisfy the mind, as it is insatiable. Certain kinds of things need to be understood on a level deeper than the mind, as the mind literally cannot comprehend the reality.

We could easily have a whole lesson on your question, there is so much to it. It is very juicy.

However, negative emotions and higher feelings do not come from the same place or 'plant.' Negative emotions are based in egotistical melodramas, which exist in time--specifically the past--while the higher feelings such as love, compassion, cheerfulness, tranquility, equanimity, and lightheartedness cannot exist in time, and can only be truly experienced in the present moment.

They take place in different 'centers' of the subtle body. Negative emotions, which are unpleasant, take place in a lower center than the higher, more pleasant and refined feelings.

Breaking free from negative emotions has much to do with breaking free from egotistical melodramas, which is explored in depth in the course. Once we truly live in the present moment, we will not bother to identify with or involve ourselves in negative emotions, which are very coarse compared to the higher feelings available only in the present moment.

It takes training and practice to actually do all this instead of just finding it something interesting to read about. This is why we have a course via email.

CDM said...

Thank you for coming out of your "retirement" to be with us once again. So many connections among us all. Writing short stories has been one of the great loves of my life. I met that great lady Eudora Welty once, briefly, at Mt. Holyoke. And I have recently been reading some of Paramahansa Yogananda for the first time. The man who is now my husband introduced me to your previous course when I was going through a major change in my life. That course led me to my first living guru--whose physical presence I miss dearly, but who is always near in my heart. Enabling us to participate in your new course is a great gift, a blessing, a continuation of those wonderful weekend workshops. Amazing grace to meet again in this space! Thank you.

D. R. Butler said...

Thank you for your kind comments, CDM. In my own consciousness, the blog contains all the elements of the workshops in virtual form, for ongoing online satsang. The monthly entries are like my morning talks, and the comments are like the Q&A exchanges and sharing sessions that we did in the afternoon. It is great to see the community here growing so rapidly. Of course, everything revolves around the course via email, which contains the 'good stuff'--the actual 'training' that leads to transformation.

ElizOF said...

What a wonderful surprise to come across your excellent blog here. I remember you well from the old days and wish you continued bliss and blessings on your journey. I have enjoyed reading your post and will return for more. I added it to my Facebook page too.
Have a great week!
Eliz

Rico said...

It's interesting that your early teacher was told by his teacher to share the Teachings of the Truth to help people cope with the Great Depression. And here we are in the midst of the next great depression and the same Truth is again available in a readily accessible format for those open enough to hear it.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

I excitedly read your entry in the early morn 8/1 and found great comfort in understanding some of your journey DR. What always drew me to the practice you represented for years and the course work was and is the experiential quality of it all. As you mention above about subtle things needing to be practiced that the mind can not comprehend. I am enjoying immensely this practicing. I feel stronger and more resilient as a result. Ditto to Rico's comment.

Steve C. said...

That's a delightful story about the newcomer at one of your courses. And what a wonderful combination of delusion and insight. They pegged you perfectly Ram, in spite of themselves. Beyond a shadow of doubt, totally intoxicated indeed!

Colette said...

I am just finishing up my second Saturn return, and it was a wonderful experience because of the grace that I was able to experience due to the practices of our shared path both past and present.tears of gratitude well up in my eyes as I contemplate all that this means to me in the present moment. I have Saturn in Virgo which has to do with lessons about discrimination and the highest level of discrimination is coming to things as if you have not been there before without preconceived ideas, In other words living in the truth of the present moment. I am able to do this more and more. I took your course from 86 until a year after it was over and I am so grateful for being able to take it again. The blog is wonderful, the sangham is wonderful, and the course is sublime.
'S.G.M.K.J. what a glorious grace filled morning this is! What a wonderous feeling I have inside. Om Namah Shivaya , awake I am!' Love to all, Karuna-Colette

D. R. Butler said...

From a response to a private message:

I am truly sorry for the difficult karma you and your husband are having to go through. It is amazing what all we take on in a lifetime, to go through and experience, to somehow balance the karmic scales and come into complete harmony with the All.

There are many lessons ahead focusing on the subtle body and subtle life--basically where we came from before entering the physical body and where we'll return when we exit the body on the last exhalation. Then it will be like waking up from a bad dream, or from 'the performance,' as Kundera might put it.

Anyway, those parts are especially for you now, as the best direction you can go in from here is to focus more and more on subtle reality and the subtle body. We are in the subtle body here and now; it actually animates and enlivens the physical body through the breath. All our thoughts and feelings, all our love and joy, exist in the subtle body and do not 'die' when we return to subtle existence.

In reality, the essence of you and him will never be apart, if you develop the awareness of subtle reality. Also, in the subtle body, we are always at our peak, at our prime, at our best. The physical world is for the karma of the physical body alone, and when we leave this world that karma is finished. So all this is temporary.

Kathy said...

Ram, thanks for your response. I do think I imbibed the answer, finally. Here's how I satisfied my mind with it as well. We are always in the present moment " the higher feelings" so if we are experiencing them, we are in the present moment. However, the negative stuff, which I do understand and see as being attached to ego driven melodrama, is what we are here to "rise above" or not be affected by. When we do that we can be " in the present moment" of love, which is always there vibrating within. It's not depended on anything, it's just "there."
How's that for a way to satisfy the questioning mind.
By the way, happy belated birthday! Whenever Bindu and I talk, we always mention how the lessons are such a great gift at this time in our lives.

CDM said...

I keep feeling that living in the present moment is all-inclusive, that everything (including what we think of as past, present, and future) are all happening now and forever, without beginning or end. I feel that if I were fully expanded I would be able to see, hear, smell, touch all of history, all events, all people occurring before me as if I were experiencing multiple simultaneous full-sense movies or videos. I would experience all this and laugh with delight, knowing that everything is just fine, that there is no loss.

Renee said...

I love analogies. Sometimes they help give me a new perspective to work with. I thought of this one today, and wanted to run it past you all to see if you could elaborate on it, or tell me I’ve got it all wrong.

I decided that my mind is like an engine, driving me around. Living in the present moment is like shifting out of gear and coasting in neutral, letting it be as it is. Life has its own momentum.

As soon as my ego stomps on the gas, I’m off and running again, looking ahead, trying to get somewhere. I always have a destination in mind when I do that. I’m heading into the future.

Resisting life as it is is like stepping on the brakes which usually spins the car into a samskara-ditch.

But if I catch myself doing these things and think about shifting to neutral, I can immediately let go of where I was heading. The engine can rev away as much as it likes, but the gears aren’t engaged, so all that noise and fury can’t push me. It scares me a lot to let go and let it be, so I think that must be on the right track.

I haven't read through all the blog files or comments yet, so if this has been covered, I apologize.

Jane said...

Ram,

Thank you so much for posting “From a response to a private message”. In the past year, both my brother and mother ‘died’ (on separate occasions) and in each case, staying in touch with the love on the subtle level was the only thing that helped me to cope with what was happening on the physical level and be available to bring comfort to others.

This week includes a date that would have been my brother’s birthday (also the date of my mother’s emergency admission to the hospital) and the date of her passing so I’ve been trying to continue connecting on the subtle level. I’ve been struggling a bit with keeping the focus on the subtle level so your posting is an immense gift.

Love to all and especially to the original recipient of your message.

rico said...

Sweet analogy, Renee

CDM said...

So much love and compassion on this blog and sincere positive intentionality. This is a great place to be and to share.

Colette said...

As I read my lesson today, I feel so grateful for my capacity to experience love, for who I get to be in the world and for all the people in the world and on this blog that are in the conversation of awakening to themselves. we are so fortunate to be able to feel and express love in the world. What riches we have. What blessings are ours when we acknowledge the simple truth of the present moment. I want to thank you all for being who you are, perfect just as you are and just as you aren't. Love to all Karuna-Colette

Benjamin said...

I've been reading D.R.'s writings for over twenty years, and have attended workshops and other gatherings with him, and have been fortunate enough to occasionally be among the group that gets to take him out to dinner afterwards. At least back when he was a "traveling man," as D.R. himself put it.

I wanted to share a certain observation I'd had during all this time of knowing him, reading him, and being around him. D.R. is the most remarkably consistent person I have ever come across. He is always the same.

He has written about how when he traveled and saw certain people once a year, it was always like they had just been together the day before. This is the way it is with him. Everytime I've ever been with him, it always felt so easy and comfortable that it felt like I had been with him the day before.

And you always know what you're going to get with him. Not that he is predictable, as he's not by any means. He mostly tended to blow people's minds, especially if they had any expectations or assumptions regarding him or how he might be, but he is always the same essential D.R.

His writings are, and have always been, consistent in every way. I've never seen a contradiction or even anything that didn't make total sense in his writings. They are very clear in every respect. But he's always taught the same thing, the same philosophy and approach to life, from day one.

I love his consistency. If you go to him, or his writings, you know what you are going to get, even if the mind doesn't really understand. You always know you will get the writer of the course. Anyway, if anyone never got to see this about him, I wanted to share it, so that you might know the writer better.

I love this community and I love reading all your posts. The first thing I do every day is come here to see if there is anything new, and the second thing I do is check out his Facebook page to see what is going on there. I know he doesn't want the course to be about him, and that he is not interested in becoming a public personality as he once was, still I think people might get even more out of the lessons and blog if they appreciate where it is coming from.

I love all of you who come here and can't wait to see who is the next to share something. People are so open and honest here, as well as so helpful and encouraging to each other. We have a chance here to really see how much we are all alike and how we go through the same stuff.

Just writing all this inspires me to go check in with my current lesson. See you later.

jimi said...

Ram, you have always been a funny guy. The 1st time I met you at a workshop in NM, I laughed so hard that by the end of Sunday, my stomach muscles were so exhausted that I prayed to God you wouldn't say anything else funny.

Anyway, in that tradition, the "I married the babysitter" comment on the latest blog entry was priceless. And yes, I know, the funniest stuff is usually not on purpose.

Steve C. said...

Thank you Benjamin, for the timely post about DR. I say timely, because I was just having the same recollection about Ram as regards consistency. I suppose there's nothing different in the writings as opposed to meeting him in person, but there is such a striking consistent nature that one takes in, whether the meeting (in words or in person) lasts only a "moment" or hours. It just sort of strikes you intuitively, like coming in view of a mountain or other feature that is beyond the shadow of a doubt the same always. There seems to be no change. Of course there are a thousand surface changes, but the essence never changes. That's what makes the writings so ineffably true, because of the sense of the unchanging that is the truest aspect of us all.

Colette said...

Watching where our attention goes is quite an art,sometimes it is easy for me, and sometimes it feels like I am trying to grab a greased pig. "Steady wisdom is called yoga." I am undone in the humor of it all. The mind keeps me quite unstiched. I catch myself running down a familiar painful critical path and I hear "are you having fun now"? This makes me laugh and it stops.

Renee said...

As usual, it has taken me multiple readings of my current lesson to get something. I’m glad there is work to be done. I so enjoy each little “Ah ha” moment! I tend to be helped by combining a lesson with some of the blog. Sometimes, the new combination enables a new understanding.

I read in the blog from Oct 10, 2009 something very powerful: “Each of us in this world is either a puppet of the samskaras, or always remaining vigilant and ready to deal with them when they come up, ready to replace them with something greater, with some reminder such as, The only true and lasting sensation of Consciousness is love.”

So I resolved to be vigilant today, to watch out for my irritation samskara especially (it’s a nearly-constant companion). I found that if I wasn’t letting my mind and ego have their way, there was ….uncertainty. Normally, I feel I know exactly how things will go down. Child X will do A, and then I will do B. Child will react. I will react. It’s the same unpleasant dance all over again. I feel like I’m trapped and yet I keep doing the same things.

This isn’t new. In Lesson 7: “This is how we create the very reality that we actually do not even want, simply through describing things in negative or limited ways. In whatever ways we describe something, including another person, that is how it appears to us. Our own consciousness is being reflected back to us in the mirror of the world and other people.”

But if I subtract my part, the part where I think I know what is going to happen, there is nothing there – nothing created by the mind and ego. What is there? What will happen? Ah ha! This is what you mean by everything is new! This is what you mean by “When we think we already know, we are deluded; we are bound to limited knowledge. When we go into a space between thoughts, where there is a sense of I don’t know anything; I don’t understand anything, we are in the space of pure Awareness, or the inner Self.”

I see it today!

Again, from Lesson 7: “We will never reach a point where we cannot see something in a new way, for that is the way of all life, and all growth and expansion comes through the process of seeing what is new.” Now, back to not knowing. ;)

Rico said...

I have long wondered about healing, healers and the creative power of thought and would like your perspective. I long ago realized that we do indeed have the absolute ability to create the conditions and circumstances of our life. That being the case it seems that healers like Scott or Baba Rampuri and others (not western medical doctors) are really just facilitators of an individual's own creative healing abilities. The "rituals" performed seem to be means to convince or allow the individual heal themselves.

That said, I wonder why someone with a disciplined mind would not heal their own ailments. There were/are many Great Ones who did not choose to cure their own afflictions. Is this just allowing karma to play out or perhaps getting rid of the affliction is not worth the effort? I suspect perhaps both. In my own case I find it less trouble to treat the ailment than to muster the concentration of will that may be necessary to be rid of it. Besides eventually one reaches the point where it's all the same anyway.

D. R. Butler said...

Baba Rampuri is not a healer. He is a Guru among the Naga Babas. Healing might happen through him, just as it might happen through you or me, but it is not the right category or classification for him, not that you can easily stuff him into a contained category any more than you can me.

Scott, however, might shed some light on this, as he has a natural ability to heal, see auras, chakras, etc, and move energies in ways that lead to greater health. His mother had the same abilities and she guided him in refining his ability to a high degree as he was growing up. His father, a Master Chiropractor, and whom I miss a great deal, is also a healing machine. I never saw him that I didn't feel much better afterwards.

I know others come here who are also healers, and anyone who feels to contribute to the dialogue is welcome to post. I'd like to know more about it myself.

With all that said, you hit upon some other truths in writing out your questions. Not just anything can be healed, for one thing. Whatever our physical condition, it is karmic in nature. So 'healing' to some degree is manipulating karma. Of course, to the degree that it happens is also karmic, so it's all a play within a play anyway.

Like you said, many great Masters had illnesses and did not bother to heal themselves. Ramana Maharshi was dying of cancer, and his devotees were saying, 'Oh, Ramana, heal yourself and stay with us.' 'Don't be silly,' he replied. 'Where could I go? I'll always be with you.'

In large part, illness is simply the absence of health, in the same way that darkness is only the absence of light. Introduce radiant health and the darkness of ill health fades away. This is how most people have problems healing themselves: they're trying to push out the darkness instead of simply turning of the light. Radiant health can be created a lot easier than illness can be eliminated. This is explored in depth in the lessons of the course.

Good understanding includes knowing that illness has to do with karma. And terminal illness is simply an individual's ticket from this world. We have to go out somehow. We can finish with a car crash (as my own mother did at age 43) or we can go out via some illness such as cancer or heart disease.

Of course, those are not our only options. We can make the grand transition in great joy and peace, and simply depart on the wings of the final exhalation.

Hopefully we will hear from some real healers.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Wow, I was going to say, “Who me? You’re putting Baba Rampuri’s name next to mine in connection with healing?” I’m deeply honored to be thought of in parallel with that greatest of Gurus! However, as Ram said, indeed His (Baba’s) function is that of Guru. I can’t rightly say what my function is. Healer? Guru? Disciple? Sinner? Whatever.

So here’s the thing, because I won’t focus on myself now in public like this, I’d rather do it in a book which I’m writing. Let’s talk a little bit about healing.

Ram says, “it’s all a play within a play.” He’s right. You might say I am manipulating people’s karmas--that’s very true. I am doing just that. I am doing nothing else. I am changing everything. It’s my karma. It’s the karma of those who come to see me to have it worked out like that. Do I really think that I am the guy doing it? Nope. Something bigger is always at work here--unfathomable. I perform my role the best way I can, which someone else might be able to do better, but which is not their dharma. Nothing comes easily to me, and yet everything is easy. If that doesn’t bake your noodle nothing will. Most of the time, though people come to me for this affliction or that affliction, they have a different experience altogether. I can’t say what it is, because I do not know it. I’m a facilitator of Source Healing Energy. It’s not something I can sum-up here, as it takes 2 days to teach the essence of that most Divine work.

I see the aura and chakras because I am supposed to--so simple. I work with them because I can, again it is my duty. You might even call it my swadharma. I have seen other worlds than these from what I can understand and experience. I have no need or interest in making up lies to fill myself up on some ego-trip. I don’t care if I never see another world than the one in front of me again...preferable actually. And none of what I have seen or experienced in the astral realms has made me a much better person here on good old Earth anyway. It didn’t change my perspective much either. (continued in second post...)

Scott Marmorstein said...

I see the aura and chakras because I am supposed to--so simple. I work with them because I can, again it is my duty. You might even call it my swadharma. I have seen other worlds than these from what I can understand and experience. I have no need or interest in making up lies to fill myself up on some ego-trip. I don’t care if I never see another world than the one in front of me again...preferable actually. And none of what I have seen or experienced in the astral realms has made me a much better person here on good old Earth anyway. It didn’t change my perspective much either.

Shaktipat, the awakening of Kundalini energy changed everything for me. That was huge enough. When I meditated and went to the Source, that changed everything all over again. Healing energy from Source, when brought down and truly used, is miraculous and life changing. It cannot be really comprehended by mind. It does not just treat the physical body. It treats every layer and every subtle aspect of one’s entire being. That’s It’s goal, that’s It’s purpose, that is It’s Play. I just bring it through me for each person who wants it. Some people spazz out on the table and others do not ‘feel’ anything. Yet always sooner or later there is an explosion of life changes. Various ailments are erased and people’s lives really take off. Who can know the mysterious ways of Source? I am just an infant in my experiments with healing. I know next to nothing. And with great love and respect I approach it from my perspective that I may serve others in a way that is still being defined subtly and in some cases overtly. I wrote a 60 page book about it and even like this, no one can figure out its meaning! It is not for words. It is for direct experience. I invest Source in everything I say, think, write, and do.

Colette said...

I have been involved with healing my whole life, in some ways I feel that I was at my best when I was five, less in the way then. I am working back to that I guess. Healing has always been something that happened through me, as natural as breathing in and out. I tend to agree with Rico in that it feels like a facilitation to me, I certainly do not feel like I am doing anything except being with the person and seeing what shows up so that they can get well. It is definitely not up to me whether or not that happens. One of my strongest lessons in this was participating in the care that I gave my ill husband who passed from M.S. I could ameliorate his suffering, but that was all. It taught me a lot about letting go and learning how to receive. I have also seen what happens to healers who only know how to give, they die, often of cancer or heart attacks. As for great beings, I have heard that they eat the karma of their students and this is how they get ill, I do not know this first hand, but I can see a certain logic in this. I am open to other perspectives from th rest of our motley crew. Love to all Karuna- Colette

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Since you requested comments from healers DR I offer some. For some years I was a massage therapist and a PT. Though I did not consider myself a healer that is what was happening at times. The most profound healing took place when we both met in the present in a sustained experience. I often could sense it before it took place because of the mutual willingness to be present. It truly felt like a dance and at best a dance of one. It was important to me to remember always that though I had skills I was not healing anyone but taking part in creating a space for healing to take place.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

Reading other healing professionals stories here I see the commonality in the stories and experiences. I note here that at some point in ny career I got rather cocky about my pre session rituals and did not maintain a clear space. At that point I began taking on so much from clients and became quite physically injured.

Chris said...

Hi All, I do not know that I would call myself a "real healer", but I have studied spiritual healing work with one of the greatest healers in the US - Eliot Cowan. Eliot's book "Plant Spirit Medicine" is, in my estimation, the very best presentation of shamanic healing out there. If you have some strange assessment of what shamanism is, I suggest checking his book out.

On the subject of whether a healer helps a person to heal themselves, in a sense that is true, and in a sense it is not true. If someone could heal themselves, they wouldn't come to a healer. If you could see into your blind spot, maybe you could heal yourself, but by definition a person cannot see into their own blind spot, that is why it's helpful to work with a healing practitioner.

The form that I practice involves the spirits of plants. On the level of Self, yes it is all divine and so it is in a sense healing one's-Self. From the perspective of being an individual, and this is the perspective in which one wants to "improve" one's life in some way, it's not something one does to ones-self. It is not about isolation, but about re-establishing relationship and exchange with the divine natural world.

We are present in this world to be part of it, not to be isolated. The shamanic approach is one of friendship. Friendship with the plants, animal spirits, the land, lakes, rivers, oceans, mountains, weather spirits, and so forth. From a yogic perspective this all seems strange at first, because we like to think that it's all the same Self. However, these divine manifestations all have their own spiritual nature and the ultimate measure of a healing practice is whether it works. If the healing isn't practical, it's not healing. I have found that the approach of friendship and relationship with the divine in all of these various manifestations is immanently practical and effective, so much so that I was called by my heart (Guru) to study and practice it.

The one other thing I'd mention, if you're still with me, is that the spiritual manifestation of "relationship" is the spirit of Fire. In my connection to community, a wondrous relationship to the spirit of Fire has opened for me, and this divine being (who I call Grandfather Fire) has now become a powerful teacher and guide to me. The Huichol people of Mexico honor Grandfather Fire (also known as Tatewari) as the primordial Shaman, who is responsible for the recruitment and training of shamans. This, to me, is strongly reminiscent of Shiva being the primordial Guru.

I consider myself very fortunate to have relationship with both the Guru and the God of Fire in my life.

Deb said...

How interesting, that in the last 24 hours I have had the sensation that I'm being called back to healing work, after an 8 year hiatus, and checking the blog today I find such a fascinating discussion of that very thing.

I agree with Collette and Kristopher that it is very important to be clear or neutral dealing with the healing energies, otherwise if the ego gets involved it can be a slippery slope.

I came to healing out of necessity in 1992...to cure what 22 doctors and specialists pronounced as my incurable, fatal illness. But 8 years ago I was guided to stop this work, in no uncertain terms.

I feel called back to healing because I need it once again, but on an emotional level. I'm exploring modalities. Hopefully I can come from a neutral space. I appreciate the book recommendation Chris. I live among the shamans of Ecuador and might go this route.

Just this morning I prayed to be guided and directed. Thank you all for this amazing blog.

India said...

Deb-
I feel compelled to share the name of an incredible shaman and life coach that I have been working with on emotional healing issues for the last few years. She is an initiated shaman in the huichol indian tradition and works long distance. She also is totally aligned with the Guru's teachings and all that Ram teaches in his course. Her name is Prema Sheerin. You can google her and find her webpage. I encourage trying a session with her to see what you think.

My best, India

D. R. Butler said...

If any long distance healers read this, my left hip is hurting so much I can hardly sit down or stand up, much less walk without pain.

D. R. Butler said...

And you Tong Ren doll-tappers are invited to tap the hell out of my left hip. Jnani also said he'll welcome any tapping, for those who asked.

India said...

Well, maybe I need to clarify that Prema does her emotional coaching work over the phone (therefore it is long distance).

Ram, I am sending your hip lots of healing light through the air waves. Just so you don't feel alone I am currently immobilzed with a Gout attack in my big toe due to the fact that my failing kidney cannot filter out the uric acid in my blood. I would not wish this pain on anyone!! But at least I can sit down!

Which brings me back to your statment that "Not just anything can be healed, for one thing. Whatever our physical condition, it is karmic in nature."

This is so important to embrace and accept. I have found in my own process with my unchangeable karma, that the path to, and experience of, acceptance is where the deepest healing and learning occur. After years of my mind and ego lecturing me about the need for acceptance, one day when all these thoughts stopped (thanks to all the practices received from all my teachers) the experience of acceptance just was! One day I realized that I just felt so happy, so peaceful, blissful, and joyfilled.

Like when this gout woke me up in excruciating pain in the middle of the night I did not expeoience any change in my inner state. I groaned a little, swore a little, called the doctor, etc. but why suffer about what is?

That is not to say that sometime the old thought patterns and beliefs do not return and when they do, I have difficulty maintaing my state, but thanks to Ram's practical teachings I can see what is happening and shift my thoughts and feelings.

With gratitude and love, India

Anonymous said...

Hello, on the shaman, healing subject, we recently viewed from Netflix a documentary called "The Horse Boy" heres their little spleel that can tell it better than I what it's about:

Conventional therapies fail to help their autistic son, Rupert and Kristin Isaacson travel with Rowan to Mongolia in the hopes that a combination of traditional shamanic healing and horseback riding will benefit him. Director Michel O. Scott's documentary juxtaposes scenes of the family at home in Texas with their journey on horseback across the breathtaking Mongolian countryside in search of reindeer herders and a powerful shaman.

It was a powerful movie, and I don't think I'll spoil anything by saying it had a fairly happy ending

Scott Marmorstein said...

Ram,

I will commence sending you healing energy now that I have read your plea.

Love,
Uddhava

Achla said...

Hello Ram,
Why not try some good old allopathic medicine( Western medicine)?Generally a short course of antiinflammatory meds along with muscle relaxants and if needed pain meds, does take care of the pain. Bed rest or a position of maximum comfort for the duration of the pain also helps. It would also be important to determine the cause of the pain-especially if it is not easily resolved. As well it is wise to treat the pain sooner rather than later-pain that is not treated promptly tends to become long and drawn out and more difficult to treat.
On another note, I wonder if there are personal stories of healing that blog readers have to share. I have found in my own experience that the extent to which I can offer healing to others corresponds to my own journey of healing ( physician heal thyself). I have also been moved by the profound change that occurs in clients when I myself am in touch with the Self. It is a most gratifying experience -standing in this field of lightness and compassion sharing our humanness and frailty.
-I understand the increased resistance to "western medicine" -however I have found over the years that western medicine is embracing other disciplines for healing-with meditation, yoga, physiotherapy, massage, herbal medicine to name only a few....My point is simply that each of these tools has a place in the healing process and each client may respond best to a certain form of treatment.
Scott , you are very privileged to be able to help people at such a profound level.
My prayer for tonight for everyone everywhere:
Sarve savantu ninamayah:
May everyone be healthy( Universal prayer).
With gratitude and love,
Achla

Rico said...

Thank you all for responding to my inquiry and I hope the feedback continues. Your responses have added a more pieces to the puzzle.

I'd like to clarify a few of my comments. It was not my intent to demean Western medicine. Western medicine is unparalleled in certain areas, like treating trauma, but my inquiry was not about this area of healing.

The basis for my opinion that healing is ultimately a matter of self (Self?) healing is the bible story of the woman who touched the robes of Christ and was healed. When she thanked him for healing her He replied "your faith has healed you". Please forgive my recollection of the bible story as I am many years removed from my Christian upbringing.

I suspect that Scott is on target when he says, "It cannot be really comprehended by mind." But increasing one's understanding of this topic can only be beneficial.

Deb said...

I loved The Horse Boy, Anonymous. Major goose bumps. Thank you.

D. R. Butler said...

Achla, your comments are very sensible. I have no problem with allopathic medicine at all. I was at a clinic in an ashram in India in 1978 when some Westerner said he didn't believe in medicine, and the woman swami Indian doctor told him, 'Medicine is Shakti too.' My hips has been covered by huge antiinflamatory patches, I've had one cortisone shot, and I am not adverse to taking pain meds when needed. I have throw away all my ideals regarding what should and shouldn't be. I go for an MRI on Friday, after getting x-rays a couple of days ago. So I'm getting on friendly terms with the local hospital and MDs.

Actually, it's much better today, although I still can't walk without limping. It's just the body, though, and I'll be fine. I have the support of some wonderful people. Love to you.

Scott Marmorstein said...

I have no trouble at all with allopathic medicine when it is vitally required. I myself am on heavy duty drugs for the time being so that my ticker remains clear and pumping properly. I don't have a choice on the matter.

When my Cardiologist says I can quit whatever drug I want, I certainly will. All medicines, whether fully natural or totally synthetic are specific whirling atoms of energy that react chemically to different chemicals. Our bodies are one big bag of chemicals--the trick is to balance them all out. Doing that takes enormous amounts of energy.

What's more astounding to me is that all this energy used in such specific ways to make such specific things happen comes from the Source. An even finer level of this energy turns into intelligence in order to figure out that something like Plavix is going to keep an artery clear so that it doesn't collapse on stents. To me, the whole science and spirituality is mind bogglingly astounding. I salute pioneers of discovery everywhere! Thank you!

Ekatman said...

Does any one of you have advice on taking REIKI iniciations?

Does it really work?

And whom would it be an authentic REIKI Master to get the gift of healing?

I have practiced Martial Arts on and off for many years and it is said that in order to become a complete martial artist you also have to learn how to heal, no only to know how to injure.

Through the years and several systems I have come to love the way of AIKIDO, to learn that the world is not against me and that I do not have to anticipate conflict.

But coming back to the topic of healing.

Ram, and healers... Do you have any thoughts about REIKI or Chi Kung?

Colette said...

Since we are in a discussion about healing, I'd like to share something that I have been working with around descriptions, and the in breath being the subtle body entering the physical. In the philosophy of Chinese Medicine the breath leads the qi, or the vital force, the only thing that causes dis ease is a blockage in the qi, So what I have been playing with is using my breath to create a new description for what is happening in my body since belief seems to play a powerful role in our health.For instance as I am breathing into something that I have previously described as pain, I first go for turning it into sensation and as much as possible not describing it at all. This is not about denying what is going on, it is just about creating a different conversation around it. Love to all, Karuna

Deb said...

Ekatman,Reiki is an excellent introduction to healing. Qualified teachers are easy to find. It will open the channels for healing energies to work through your bodies. It is straightforward, and somewhat automatic once you have been initiated into all three levels. The effectiveness is related to your own levels of shakti, or chi or what ever you call it given your paradigm. Having practiced martial arts, you no doubt know about this. Reiki, for me, quickly morphed into other methods of healing. You will find that when you check the bios of spiritual healers many of them list Reiki. I recommend it as an excellent place to start. In fact, it was recommended to me, in meditation, by the guru of my guru's guru. (I wish I could just name him, but understand that that is not allowed.)

Colette said...

I forgot to mention that when I am doing the breathing I breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, Tongue touching the roof of my mouth on the in breath and touching below my teeth on the out breath. In the Taoist meditation that I learned the upward position of the tongue connects you to the central channels in the body to circulate the healing qi, and the tongue at the base disperses the blocked qi. Most important is to listen to your own inner direction, for your body always knows best if you are really listening. Even though we are all one our ways are many listen within. Much love and many blessing to all Karuna

Anusuya said...

Since you mentioned it and the topic is healing, I will join in. Tong ren originated in the Boson area, so those of you who are local may have heard of it. It is a blend of western diagnostics, anatomy and physiology with the Chinese concept of chi and opening energy blockages to heal the physical body. We jokingly call it voodoo because we use acupuncture dolls and a magnetized hammer as our tools of the trade. The points we tap are chosen according to the diagnosis and correspond to points along the acupuncture meridians. Some people add acupuncture and tuina (massage) to tong ren, but many do not. I have seen so many conditions that are incurable heal in the past few years of practice. I also see that it is karmic and that is is only possible to improve quality of life for some, because they do not have the karma to fully heal. Tong ren is based on the concept that we are tapping into the collective unconscious for the healing. There is no sense of doing anything, and no need to believe it will work, although we always need permission to work on anyone. I noticed India's post about kidneys...I know several people who's kidneys were failing that are now the picture of health even though the doctor's would say it is impossible. We do the work in what are called "guinea pig classes" with some broadcast on the web live. People heal via internet and on the phone,as well as in class, so it is available no matter where you are. The person who developed this method is a well known acupuncturist who has applied his years of experience and observation to determine where blockages are found in relation to varying physical conditions. It is constantly evolving. I've known numerous skeptics who are now feeling unbelievably well after years of chronic issues.

Renee said...

I'm sorry this comment is not on topic.

Today, I was reading the blog and comments from Jan/Feb 2009 and just happy to be sitting and thinking and not being distracted. I think I was actually meditating as I read because something happened (husband woke up, irritated) that caused me to experience a clear, unpleasant tightening in my chest. Worry, anxiety coming on. I have honestly never physically felt that. It was so interesting I just sat there and felt it moving down into my stomach and guts where I had a slightly clammy sensation for a long while.

So my question is: Can “past conditioning” which I always thought about as having happened when I was 2 or 3 years old and not aware of it happening, also occur more recently? Can things that have been happening over the last 6 months also result in “habitual tendencies”?

I think what happened is that a samskara came up, triggered by what I took to be my husband’s irritation. BUT, because of this course, isn’t it more true that it isn’t his irritation that is the cause. It’s my habitual responses to his being however he is being. I have conditioned myself through unobserved samskaras or something like that? And the way to be free of these is to live in the present moment, observe these things come up and play out, work to come into harmony with them, and then once again find yourself living in the present moment? I've been struggling with the idea that what I see is what I get. How can he be a reflection of me when it is obvious that he is the irritated one?

Anyone's insights would be appreciated! Ram, I hope your hip is feeling Ok today and you're having a great visit! Thank you for making this course available. I read a library full of books on meditation, and never got even as far as I am in four months of your course.

D. R. Butler said...

Renee, there is no such thing as 'on' or 'off topic' in this blog. I have no idea what the 'topic' might even be, except that we are all opening to the same Truth that lies within each of us.

I have some things to say about your questions, and also some other things that have been posted above, as soon as I have more time. I am about to leave for NYC to pick up daughter Sara as she is coming for a fun visit.

rico said...

It's quite possible to remain in the Present Moment when a samskara is playing out. If we can maintain our attention on what is aware of the samskara instead of getting lost in it, then watching the samskara can be like watching an amusing movie. If we can watch the movie then the pull to get lost in it diminishes with each screening.

D. R. Butler said...

Renee, your husband's 'irritation,' or anything else, is never the cause of your reactions or feelings.

We are always the only one responsible for our own reactions and feelings. Never blame another.

You can observe irritation in another, but it does not affect you in the least unless you focus on that way of seeing him and then take it on as your own reality. You could just as easily be compassionate regarding his ongoing struggle with the samskara of irritation. It is very important how we see and describe others, because that seeing and describing adds creative energy to what we are seeing and describing. If we describe someone as irritated, we add creative energy to help reinforce that irritation.

Our reactions to things, in a sense, help immeasurably to cause the very things we are reacting to. In fact, many things we react to would not even exist if not for our reaction. This is explored thoroughly a little later in the course. Couples get into habitual patterns with each other where one triggers and the other automatically reacts, and they go back and forth as if they have no choice in the matter. We can break such limiting patterns simply by doing what is necessary to create new ones in their place.

Karuna-Colette, with all respect, there are many causes of disease other than blocked qi. (Qi in Japanese, chi in Chinese.) There are conditions brought about by heat and toxins, excess dampness or dryness, wind dampness, wind chill (the common cold), excessive phlegm, deficiencies or excesses in chi, blood, yin, and yang. We grow old because we allow the jing to become depleted, resulting in loss of hair or of original hair color, bones becoming brittle, eyes less sharp or clear, cloudy or confused mind, weakening of all the senses, loss of sexual desire and capacity to function, wrinkles, loss of energy and vitality, and many other things.

In short, in Chinese medicine there are many conditions that lead to disease. Certainly stagnated chi is a cause of many undesirable conditions, including many forms of pain, but it is not by far the only condition that leads to illness.

Rico, good post, and as true as anything that I could say. Thanks for your continued contributions.

Kristopher Stillwell said...

At one point I was married to a woman who kept a very casual home. By contrast my habit was more orderliness. Our natural orientations to this were so extreme it caused great friction and much discord. One day it occurred to me in a flash, wow, both of us by our intense objectioning focus on the others way were making it take on a life of its own more than it would without such scrutiny. This was an open door to understanding what DR speaks of above.

Tobie said...

At the moment my career as an artist seems to have been suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. No real substantial work has come in for a few years now (I make my living as an illustrator), though it is apparent, like when I was sick myself, that Grace is extraordinarily present as it was then. Huge shifts are occurring. I am surrounded by amazing teachers and could not have better support from my husband and a brilliant agent. It is interesting that here you are back in my life at this time and once again I am so grateful. The mind likes to say "this can't be right! This is not good!...you must DO something! etc. etc..." The Self is clearly stating otherwise. I don't think I could stay grounded in a place of stillness utilizing my faith and trust at this time without the support of this course. I love this course. It is perfect.

Anusuya said...

Had one of those moments of clarity reading the new lesson coming off my printer. You mentioned our time of arrival and exit from this plane are determined at the same time. I've known this a long time, and sometimes consider Pat's sleep apnea to be a way of staying on the planet longer, since some say we have a predetermined number of breaths. One of the few sources of conflict in our lives come up around his cancer and what path to take when it crops up again. If our time is predetermined, then it shouldn't matter what we do or don't do, and takes the pressure off when we have to make these decisions (doubt our oncologist would agree...LOL). Definitely a topic of discussion for Pat and I to toss around. We've considered no more chemo as an option and this would reinforce that stance. Something for us to contemplate, and easier for us to consider from a cosmic standpoint at this point when we aren't faced with treatment. Thanks for provoking some thoughts on this issue. It has opened the discussion for us.

D. R. Butler said...

Suya, if more couples could say their chief source of conflict is their approach to their ongoing battle with cancer, it would be a much better world.

Strangely enough, it doesn't really matter what you decide. Yet, as you know, it is our dharma to take care of ourselves the best we know how.

If you want a totally different and purely objective perspective, write to Baba Rampuri via Facebook. Just tell him you're my longtime friends, and be relatively concise and brief. I'd love to know what he might say on the matter.

Tony Coope said...

Re painful hips and other blips: a few thoughts on healing that might be helpful.
We can look at dis-ease from many perspectives, and interpret it on different levels simultaneously. Without knowing your specific 'diagnosis', DR, on a physical level there is likely to be inflammation and/or wear and tear within the joint itself or in the muscle/ligament insertions around it. This may have come about for several reasons, including long-term compensation for misalignment in other parts of the skeletal structure.
Inflammation can be seen as arising from 'heat', secondary to the friction of resistance. The hip is the major propulsive force in physically moving forward; so hip problems on a psychological/emotional level can be interpreted as reflecting a conflict, ambivalence or resistance to moving forward in some important area of life; a sort of push-pull situation, perhaps. Other examples of this would be RSI, repetitive strain injury, (doing repeatedly something we have no love in doing); or calcaneal spurs (why else would we develop these unless we had a subconscious need to 'dig in our heels?). The stress in the body that gives rise to these problems comes from subtle ways of holding and moving that are direct reflections of underlying attitudes and beliefs; just samskaras made manifest, if you like, emerging at last into the light of Consciousness.
So symptoms can be seen as a message pointing to an issue that has come up to be addressed. (Thorwald Dethlefsen in his book 'The Healing Power of Illness' is very good on this). They could also be the equivalent of the Inner Ganesh creating obstacles to prevent us going in a wrong direction! Once insight and understanding is reached (it cannot be imposed by another), the physical symptoms may well resolve. From this we can see why approaches like Reiki, distant healing, and in fact any therapy may not work,- if we haven't got the message yet, the Shakti is not going to shoot the messenger.
On a purely practical level, I too think that allopathic drugs are also Shakti, but often with a twist; that of long-term side effects that with discrimination one might prefer to avoid. There are excellent anti-inflammatory mixtures of herbs, minerals, vitamins and aminoacids that can be very effective and also support general health without such complications.

Naganath said...

Gotta get this off my chest: D.R. says he experiences participation in the course, blog, facebook, and online satsang with the same feelings as when he was giving courses as a 'travelling man.' I do not. Although this course, this satsang is a lifeline I do not experience the same energy, the profund shakti I experienced in Ram's workshops, lesson readings at the Ashram, or the old lessons. I know I have changed but believe (based on past experience) that satsang in the physical presence of the Guru, sangham with other students, and workshops with Ram created and much more direct blast of shakti than participation through the internet. I miss your company everyone. When I read D.R.'s words regarding his experience as participant and writer of the course it did not ring true for me in my heart and has been bugging me ever since that I am not experiencing the same. I know it is my karma that it is what it is and more refined understanding is necessary to live in the experience of feeling that shakti like D.R. Thank you from the depth of my being for this course, this karma. I love the course and love you.

Naganath said...

Watched "The Horse Boy" last night. Excellent. Temple Grandin has an HBO film about her life acted by Claire Danes that is also outstanding.

Kathryn McC said...

Naganath,
I have not had the honor or privilege of ever being in the physical presence of your Guru or D.R., a very large gathering at the ashram, a workshop or even the profound shakti experience you speak of. I wonder what that must be like.
I came home harried tonight, late, still so much to do, knowing that I would be able to tune into the satsang for a little sip of peace before resuming my duties, and hoping to carry some of that peace with me. Because school is back on here, I had been attending meetings and dealing with issues related to my son's asperger's syndrome, so you can bet I will be checking out both of your recommendations once I'm done typing this. Thank you.
The satsang is a lifeline for me, too. I was barely treading water on my own.
Given my present circumstance, (living in the boonies, etc.) I don't know how I would be able to experience satsang except for this venue. And Wow, what a satsang it is.
It blows me away to be able to come here and find discussion of the grandest most Unfathomable sort right along with the most minute and pertinent details for living. So universal, yet so personalized, all in one spot! Thank you all so much for showing me, through your words, what is possible.

D. R. Butler said...

Response to a personal note:

Kay's mom went through the same thing, and of course the whole family with her. Actually she was more fun to be with, because she was always in the present moment, and never remembered the past, even five minutes earlier. There was definitely a positive side to it.

As far as keeping things on a spiritual plane, it's important to remember that she is not the mind or the body. I'm sure you've heard we'd not physical beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a physical experience. All physical karma is temporary. Just relate to the inner soul in her, even if she is out of contact with it herself. (Most people are.) Don't get caught up in the outer phenomenon of what seems to be happening. On inner planes of existence, which are eternal, we are all enjoying this play of human existence, even though we forget when we are here that we are just playing a virtual reality game of what it's like to experience being human. There is a state of lightheartedness deep within us, and it never goes anywhere, regardless of what appears to be happening externally. We simply have to remain aware of it.

Nathan said...

Kathryn McC, I'm so glad you said what you said. I have never felt the power of the Shakti as much as I have in the course lessons or here in our ongoing satsang on the blog. I have experienced states while reading the lessons that I never thought would be possible by simply reading the written word.

There is a certain quality about the new lessons in this current course that is unlike anything I have experienced before. The words just take me to a place that I've rarely hung out except in the deepest meditations. I can't say what it is or why or how it happens, only that the Shakti is full of surprises and wonderment.

I thank God daily for this course.

Deb said...

Tony, I was speaking with a very well respected healer in Manhattan about hip blips and she pointed out that the hips also represent the fulcrum on the body. Hip pain can indicate that a person is half in and half out of their body. For people who do a lot of work in dimensions other than strictly this third, it is important for them to ground themselves through a vision, or diet change, or other grounding technique.

Renee said...

Kathryn McC, I'm in the exact same boat as you, and I see this satsang as a lifeline for me, too.

I picked up my first set of hearing aids today, and I'm in a little shock.

I hear these sounds, and I have no idea what I'm hearing or where it's coming from. It makes it seem like things are happening in my head instead of out in the world. For instance, I was outside and it sounded like there were birds in my head.

So I find myself wondering if this is somewhat what you mean, in the lessons, where you say basically that we see and hear things and assume they are "out there" but really it's all just what's happening "in here" and we project out with our understanding in order to make sense of it?

D. R. Butler said...

Renee, what you say reminds me of my earliest experiences of meditation as a teenager. My favorite meditation spots were in the National Military Park surrounding the city of Vicksburg, not far from the banks of the mighty Mississippi.

There would be incredibly long periods where the only sounds would be the chirping of birds and the rustling of the leaves in the breeze. I remember distinctly experiencing these sounds as coming from within me, and not actually existing outside me. The singing of the birds came from within, and the rustle of the leaves in the breeze happened inside myself. These are among my very earliest memories of sitting still and quiet and allowing the attention to be turned inward, focusing on Consciousness or Awareness itself.

Deb, I can certainly relate to being half in and half out of this body. Sometimes I don't know whether I'm coming or going.

Mark said...

Renee, it's interesting to read someone's perspective of hearing for the first time as something happening in their head as opposed to something happening 'out there'. The bird actually exists only on a tiny spot located in the back of the brain. Just as our eyes 'see' the bird out there and our ears 'hear' the bird out there, both are only interpretations of electrical signals sent to the brain, so in reality, whatever the hell that is, the birds are in fact in your head as is everything else except that which experiences this grand illusion. Mark

JohnRama said...

I have finally realized that what perpetuates the existence of my ego are desires. Every kind of desire - even just wanting to be comfortable. Wanting anything perpetuates the ego trip here on the planet. I also have realized that it is my inability to simply sit still that also causes more karma. Just turning within and being content with the Self, with all circumstances and with living in the stillness of the inner Self is all there really is. There isn't anything going on out there. Don't get me wrong, I am truly blessed and filled with gratitude for everyone and everything but that doesn't change the underlying truth - the Self is the only lasting thing worth my attention.

Scott Marmorstein said...

JohnRama,

Buddy, I can see what you're saying. But everything 'out there' is just a reflection, a ripple reflection on the surface of the ocean of your Self. So why deny it in favor of turning inward? If you see it for what it really is, what's on the outside is coming from your inside. It is coming from the Self. You are all that is outside and all that is inside as the Self. Why hold to one and neglect the other? Embrace both, for they are the same Self which you are!

And why say, "the Self is the only lasting thing worth my attention."

Whose attention is there? You say 'my' attention, so you're dividing yourself from the Self. It cannot really be done. You are fullness. You are That.

Renee said...

JohnRama, that is simply beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to thank everyone for meeting here on this blog. I love reading your comments even if I don't comment myself I feel that we are so close in our seeking on this path together. I can understand where Naganath is coming from when he says that in the beginning there was powerful Shakti experiences. Im still in awe of my first Intensive and other experiences in the beginning of my sadhana. I reflect a lot on those experiences which are symbols for where I am headed and states I want to become established in constantly, kind of where Ram is presently in his Sadhana. I feel that now I am making real progress because I am making it a point to do the work and not relying on gifts form the master to do it for me so to speak. I am eternally grateful to my Sadguru for the experiences of Shaktipot which were examples of the final goal. Love and Blessings to all of you kindred Spirits on this path. Ralph

Deb said...

To JohnRama and Scott...it isn't either/or. To quote from my current lesson...
There is this balance: On the one hand, perfection and purity
already exist; while on the other hand, on the level of the individual, the
process of evolution continues. See both levels of being simultaneously
and live in the Truth of the present moment.

rico said...

When I started down this road I had some notions about what a "spiritual experience" was all about. I expected that it would include visual as well as energetic fireworks and at times this did happen. But it wasn't until my first face to face with with our beloved Guru that I got a real sense of what it was all about. During that first Darshan He pushed open a door that revealed not fireworks but stillness. Stillness so vast and deep it is indescribable.

As the journey continued I, like many of us, was fortunate enough to share in the experience of workshops and intensives. At the time I thought this is how it's supposed to be. The joy, elation and camaraderie experienced there seemed like the model for how it should be. Little did I appreciate, at the time, how magical and temporary these experiences would be.

Well on down the road now, it feels like a spiritual experience is hanging the laundry out to dry. But one thing has remained constant throughout; that deep, still space. It has always been available in between two thoughts.

D. R. Butler said...

Rico, funny you should say this: "The joy, elation and camaraderie experienced there seemed like the model for how it should be."

In one of our exercises in the course, where we create what we want our life to look like a year from now, I have shared that my dream is that we are all together and happy, like one big happy family.

One of my 'models' for this is a picture in my mind of a break time during the Yoga Convocation in upstate New York in the late 70's. The Guru had sent me there to lead classes in our yoga. He himself had been invited, so he sent me as his envoy.

Anyway, during this 'break' from classes and other activities (many yoga and meditation teachers were around with their respective groups) I came upon a scene with our group that including a group playing frisbee in the field with great lightheartedness and joy.

The only person I recall vividly is you. I have always remembered this picture, and you are always the centerpiece for some reason. There was such spontaneous joy and love among everyone. It engraved itself into my mind. I always remembered it as the way I wanted things to always be. It became my ideal dream of what would eventually become of all of us.

So, as 'magical and temporary' as such times sometimes seem, know that they live on in our memories and dreams and hopes and visualizations for the future. You played a certain role in helping shape mine for all time. And I have no doubt that one day it will be this way again.

Katrina said...

Oh, this whole post makes me smile on every level. Thank you for the resounding truth and simplicity with which you write, and for sharing your story.

JP said...

DR, What a great image. Frisbee, lightheartedness, joy. You had me at frisbee. Something about throwing one around that brings out my best. Your story reminded me of one summer when brahmins visited the ashram to perform a yagna. Images of them chanting for hours and of their focus while performing the ritual. Then later unexpectedly coming upon them, throwing around a frisbee in their orange robes, having fun, carefree and uninhibited.

Tony said...

Deb (19 Aug), wonderful! I had not heard that one before; I just love the whole idea of this half-in, half-out/coming or going thing.
I also loved the hormone/harmone exchange elsewhere in this blog. (I lost the place from laughing so much, and now can't find it again for looking).
Spookily, but in a good way, of course, the next day I happened to read an article on how our need to identify things splits unities into opposites, and how ancient cultures have been more successful in sensing the unity that lies behind all polarities, their language having many words that cover two opposing meanings. Only with the further evolution of language did words begin to be assigned to only one pole or the other, mainly through vowel shifts and lengthenings; (although the Sanskrit of the Guru Gita already seems to have plenty of those?). Today we can recognise this in the common roots of words that have opposite meanings; clamour and clam up, for example; harm and harmony; and the fact that the Greek word 'pharmakon' meant poison as well as medicine.
Aha! or aahaa!, even, I thought as several insights sprang to mind; the most important of which seemed to be that how we use language, our awareness of its subtleties at a deeper level, and what we 'allow in' must be an important aid in maintaining our state at higher levels.

D. R. Butler said...

My response to a private message:

From what you write, you seem to have an ongoing underlying conflict with 'others,' especially authority figures.

I'm sorry if you were offended by my brief comment in response to what you asked. It's not 'wrong' to be offended, but it is helpful to be aware that only the ego is ever offended. The inner Self is never offended by anything.

I've seen your comments (on my Facebook page) so often recently that I probably assumed you were taking the course via email. We explore ego and ego-work a lot in the lessons, and anyone taking the course would have understood my comment to you in that context and not have been offended by it.

I said your question was irrelevant because it had nothing to do with what was being discussed, even if it is relevant for you. I know nothing whatsoever about the subject you asked about, and my experience has been that when people bring up stuff that's not actually referring to what they are commenting on, that it is often subtly connected to spiritual pride, in that they are bringing up their own 'knowledge' in a way to subtly impress me or others, and not really because they sincerely wish to understand something in a new and heartfelt way.

I'm sure this is not the case with you, however I was busy at the time, was responding to things that actually had to do with things written in the blog or on FB, and knew absolutely nothing about what you were asking about.

Love to you.

D. R. Butler said...

A longtime dear friend posted this quote from Rumi on my Facebook page, saying it reminded her of me, especially regarding my sharings in 'Autobiography of a Nobody.'

I never know what I'm going to say
I don't plan it
When I'm outside the saying of it
I get very quiet
And rarely speak at all
~Rumi

mohan said...

"you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"

This comment is regarding your response to the private message. "only the ego is ever offended" is a teaching that, after two years of taking the course, I can finally say I'm seeing the fruits of reading, rereading, and practice. Daily it seems I see my thoughts begin to take offense at something and the corresponding emotional reaction begin to form when a deep, still, and small voice cuts through and says, "it is all consciousness. it is all light. and there is no one here to take offense." To live without offense or blame or is tremendously freeing and it is possible every time I focus on the truth of this present moment. Thanks to the grace of God that allows me to take the course and participate in the blog community.

love mohan

Naganath said...

Another frisbee story:
During my short travels in India years ago I had the privelege of staying at the Mahamandeleshwar's ashram in Haridwar on the Ganges. My friend and I befriended a 'Naga" Swami we nicknamed Wild Man swami due to his appearance and enthusiasm for life. We taught him to play frisbee. One day he offered to trade his homemade knife for my frisbee, but being attached to my material object I declined. Next morning he and my friend were throwing the frisbee; it hit the ground and broke in half. Wild Man swami kept the broken frisbee.

D. R. Butler said...

The new entry being posted September 1 is unlike anything seen here before. I am strangely excited about it. Even Kay has no idea yet what's in it. I'm keeping it close to the vest until the time is ripe for the unveiling.

JP said...

the evolution of wisdom is proving messy business
not like all the assumptions I've gathered
from the ad pages of new age magazines

if in fact evolution is what is happening
or is this a personal retrograde before going direct?

how is the will involved?
if will is entrenched in manipulating details of daily life
what is left over for evolution of wisdom?

am I like a star spending myself, soon to go nova
wisdom forming like the gaseous ether aftermath
a vast field of stellar clouds in the spectrum of colors?

jimi said...

DR sez:
The new entry being posted September 1 is unlike anything seen here before.

I'm definitely down for it. !st time you've added any suspense to your repertoire. I love it! How many more minutes?

mohan said...

All this juicy suspense. Perhaps you'll reveal that you've been secretly studying the mystic truths of creative marketing :D

Cameron said...

Ram: I was one of the critics of your new course. I left a comment fearing that it may give occasion for more of the pain related to what your biography describes as being "under public scrutiny for many years," and not wanting "to have to live up to being anyone in particular."

Reflecting on your autobiographical sharing has softened my position considerably.
I'm also very happy that you have become a family man. I feel it is the ideal arrangement whereby some of the "rough times" can be smoothed out. The reciprocal accomodation necessary for a successful marriage is one of the most challenging sadhanas around, and the fulfillment of a marital union can bring a seeker to the threshold of union with God.

I feel from casually browsing your site that your decision to author a second course came from deep conviction. The tradition I currently follow suggests that strong inner convictions point the way forward for a soul, and should be followed. Thus I can say I truly wish you well in this endeavor.

I also found that this insight about convictions applied to an acquaintance who felt that she should make a great effort to warn people about a certain false guru. This woman is now following the same tradition that I'm following (Meher Baba). Although I don't see much value in kicking someone's guru around (us spiritual aspirants can't ultimately judge his inner state) she feels a tremendous inner conviction that this is her life's mission, and, to me, that means it is the right path for her. Best Regards to your family, Cam

D. R. Butler said...

Cameron, I have been a 'family man' since my oldest son Jnani was born in 1984. I've been very consistent in my position regarding family life ever since then.

I certainly agree with everything you said regarding marriage. It is a great sadhana. Kay and I have focused a lot of attention and energy toward making ours work in a way that is beneficial for everyone concerned--especially including our children.

I am happy that your current path believes that 'strong inner convictions point the way forward for a soul.' This is very true. In the 'Shiva Sutras' it is said, 'Knowledge of the Self is a firm conviction.' In other words, we can't know the Self unless we have a firm conviction that we and the Self are one.

We aren't someone who 'has' a Self. We are the Self who has temporarily forgotten its true nature and thinks it has become someone.

I am not certain how much you might have gained from 'casually browsing my site,' but thank you for your good wishes.

I am happy that you like Meher Baba. He has a nice smile. I am not certain how much a photo of a nice smile can help free you from the shackles of ego, but at least his teachings are pure. I hung out with Meher Baba people when I lived in Manhattan in the 70's, and they were pleasant enough.

The idea of your acquaintance having a strong conviction that it is her 'life's mission' to warn people of a false guru is very amusing to me. A 'life's mission' based on 'warning others' doesn't sound very exalted or fulfilling to me. What, does she think she's Paul Revere? It's like warning someone, 'It's a scary world and there are some dangerous people out there, so be careful,' and then thinking that everyone will now be safe because of her warning.

Either it is our karma to experience something or it's not. We don't have the power to 'warn' someone to stay away from their karma. If something is someone's karma, no amount of 'warning' will prevent them from experiencing it. I hope she attains some degree of fulfillment from following her 'life's mission,' but I doubt that it's going to be very helpful to anyone else.

May both of you find great peace in your new path.

Deb said...

To Cameron's friend I would say that the ego can be very tricky. It can make you think its will is divine when it isn't.

I've always found it helpful to take the focus off the individual person and to focus on the teachings that come through the person. When it comes to who is and who is not God-Realized...it takes one to know one. In the mean time, the Truth of the teachings can be known. And it is through the practice of the teachings of the Truth, on a moment to moment basis, that the Truth proves itself and the goal is realized.

D. R. Butler said...

Deb, sometimes you seem so incredibly wise.

Donna said...

hi Ram,
I am writing this on a summer day that doesn't get any more perfect. The birds are flocking to the birdfeeder in a flurry of red and brilliant yellow wings. The air is clear and cool and the lawn is a carpet of green again thanks to the blessing of rainfall. I hope this finds you and Kay enjoying your summer evening.

My best friend of 15 yrs, my precious 4-legged Cody is sitting nearby. In the last year I have watched his slow decline, the natural passing of years well spent, a body weary but a heart full of joy. We have shared the great out-of-doors, climbing mountains, hiking around the nearby lake.The well trod earth his personal library, full of scents that tell tales of those who walked before him. The sky and trees are mine, the expansiveness reminding me of my own limitless possibilities. This great friend of mine has held my heart through good times and through challenges that brought me to my knees. More than once I have cried a river of tears into the ruff of his neck.

Lately Cody has trouble walking. At first his clear eyes looked at me with confusion..."how could this possibly be happening? I have caught soccer balls in my teeth, I have dug holes to China, I have run circles around you on mountain tops. How could this body fail me now?" And now he seems humbled and a little embarrased when I carry him up and down the stairs. A car ride is no longer ears flapping in the wind of an open window, but rather a struggle to stay upright as I turn corners...as slowly as I can.

I make him boiled hamburg, fresh from the local farm that raises their cattle humanely. I brush the loose hairs, spine and ribs protruding under my fingertips, eyes sinking ever deeper. I kiss him over and over and he lets me. There will never be words to express our connection.

I am writing to you not only because I respect your intuitive sharing but because you probably love your dog as much as I love mine. I have told my dear friend Cody that it is ok to go and i've prayed that he goes peacefully, perhaps while chasing that gray squirrel in his dreams. I wanted so much for him to leave on his own. I can't even conceive of making that decision. So many "apparent" decisions lately....to walk into that bathroom and view my brother's dead body...or not. To let my mother take my father home...or not. To move my mother into elderly housing and sell the house...or not. Each time I did what i could, sometimes staggering under the weight of it, but knowing that I am really not the doer anyway. And this dog named Cody, this wonderful spirit, has been with me through all of that. I am weary and know that i do not want to make another decision.

So, dear Ram, can you talk to me about decisions, the love of dogs, the perfection, the grace, the bounty, the lessons. It is all there inside me but rather jumbled at the moment. I am blessed even in my weariness, perhaps because of it...
I know I will do whatever needs to be done. Guess I just could use a few words from someone who might understand.
Love,
Donna

Donna said...

ok....it is all ego isn't it...ego that wants to do the right thing with my dear friend Cody, and ego that is still hanging on to the recent pain and "apparent decisions"....and since ego is not the enemy, just my attachment to it.....since everything, including ego, is God...then I guess my choice could be forgiveness...for myself, for my attachments. I can allow that forgiveness into the space of this present moment, I can try to let go enough that all my "apparent decisions" come from my heart rather than my ego.

I am so confused about allowing animals to die on their own, or trying to alleviate suffering. We domesticate dogs, we love them dearly...some of us even try to give them a life as near to the one they would have in the wild...and then we have to make these decisions down the road that almost don't seem to flow with the natural order of things...and what is the natural order of things except a projection of past conditioning? Does it all matter anyway?

Is the most important thing to just come from the heart...always?

Hope you don't mind Ram. There is no one for me to talk to on this level Most people say, just put your dog down, feel terrible for a while, and try to move on. But I have too many questions and much confusion.
thanks for listening,
Love,
Donna

D. R. Butler said...

I love these 2 notes from Donna because they are so beautiful and heartfelt. They are just so real. Donna is another longtime course participant, and I've known her for many years.

I wanted her letter here in the blog so that perhaps she might receive some feedback and support from the blog community and not only me. There is not a kinder, more understanding, more loving and compassionate group of people that we could ever reveal ourselves or our innermost feelings to. The more we share with each other, the more we understand that deep down we are all very much the same.

Donna, Kay's daughter Tiffany had to go through this same process a few months ago. Her dog was actually Meggie's dad--the Rottie half. He had arthritis so bad that he could no longer walk or move very much without being in pain. In fact, it was obvious that he was in pain even as he lay in his little doggie bed.

Tiffany's decision was to release him from his pain. I agree with this decision. To tell the truth, if I were experiencing mostly pain and none of the good parts of life, I'd hope someone would come along and put me out of my misery as well. I would just assume that it was my good karma and great grace that some compassionate soul would come along and put me out of my misery at the appointed time.

I know the feeling you are experiencing. It is like losing a member of the family, and like you said, our best friend. Over the years I have lost many dogs as well as cats because, well, they just don't tend to live as long as we do, so we pretty much know from the beginning that we're going to have to say goodbye at some point.

You asked, 'Is the most important thing to just come from the heart...always?'

Yes, the most important thing is to just come from the heart always. When we truly come from the heart, it's like coming from God. It is emanating what God has to share with everyone else through us, and if we open up enough there's no limit to what that can be.

Thank you for sharing yourself so openly and freely. I know this is not always so easy for you. Yet you have done so beautifully, and your writings will touch many people who will read this exchange.

Much love to you.

Anusuya said...

Donna's shares blew me away. I have known her even longer than the 32 years I've known you. In some ways her question is the same as mine whether it be dogs or humans, but that seems right in this yoga. Seems the answer is to keep doing what we have done all along...just keep coming from the heart as we make our "apparent" decisions. Doesn't make it easier, but it's good to know we are on the right path. My gratitude to both of you.

bindu said...

Dear Donna,
Thank you for your articulate heartfelt sharing. How I relate to your experience. Three months ago I made the decision to “release” ,Chapin (Cha) , our companion of 11 years. Cha came to us as a 5 month old puppy. I remember those first few weeks so clearly. Like a new born baby he whined most of the night, did his business on our carpets and in general created havoc. We loved him so dearly! He was curious about everything, full of unconditioned love and always ready for an adventure.

The day I brought him to the vet for the last time I was not thinking it was time to let him go. I arrived early and sat in the parking lot reading my current Lesson aloud. Cha was used to meditation and readings and he settled comfortably head on my knees. An hour later he was gone. The vet told me Cha’s cancer was spreading, he was in great pain, and it would only get worse. So I agreed to the vet’s suggestion, and cried for a week, and struggled to not go back and allow guilt to enter in. It was my good fortune to have the comfort of the following experience.

Years ago I was watching a great saint greet her disciples. One woman came up to her in tears and said, “my cat died.” At that time I remember thinking, “ Good grief, what a silly thing to say to this great being.” She, the teacher, looked at the woman and said so very lovingly and gently, ”Love is Love.” It hit me so strongly. I realized in my arrogance I was assigning priority to different kinds of Love. The teacher handed the woman a stuffed animal and repeated, “Love is Love.” That simple phrase has never left me. Somehow it freed me to be more compassionate to others and to myself. Since then I have lost family members and friends and lived with my husbands progressive degenerative disease. I know that The Love I feel for Chapin was as real and as true as the Love I feel for my friends, my family and in Truth everyone I know.

A month ago we adopted a young rescue dog. Once again our house is filled with chaos and Love and I am grateful. Your sharing is really helpful. My Love goes out to you.
Bindu

Colette said...

Deb,Bindu, and Anasunya, thank you for helping me release some of my grief for my husband and my many animals. Your sharings brought tears to my eyes and touched my heart deeply. grief is a funny animal you think you are over it, and you read something, and another wave of it is cleansed from your heart and along with it a deepening of the compassion that you feel for all life.

Ram, thank you for who you are for me. Thank you that even when you give me a lesson on Chinese Medicine, I can not have my usual knee jerk reaction because I know that you are just the Shakti speaking to me, and through the course, and my current lesson I am learning to see all of my life as a 'series of reflections in a mirror" It does not matter who is right, as our Guru says "dog Want to know that they are right, humans want to have right understanding.' I want ot have right understanding. Many years ago a character and client of mine Wavy Gravy said "'We are all Bozos on this bus together, and I added to that thank God that there are a good tour guides out there. Thank you for being one of my tour guide

One of the things that I love about Chinese Medicine is that it is relative to something. Everything that you said about the cause of diseases is true. When I was referencing a blockage in the Qi, I was talking about Qi as information and energy guided by infinite intelligence. When this energy is blocked by any of the things that you mentioned disease ensues.

Much Love and Deep respect to all, Karuna

jimi said...

Well, Donna, I know what you mean. We have had to put down more than a few pets through the years. I REALLY don't like it, but neither do I feel guilty about it.

A few years ago one of our cats was on his last leg & there was like a subconscious prayer going on in my head, "Please don't make me take you to the vet." One day I was sitting on the couch reading & Fuzzy was lying on the floor a few feet away. At one point I heard something like a sneeze & Fuzzy was gone. That cat gave us so much joy and that was his final gift.

And Bindu, "Love is Love"...God, I LOVE that! It's just one of those things that hit me like a freight train. Reminds me of one of my other favorites (uttered possibly by the same Guru): "The Truth is the Truth".

Susan C. said...

Dear Donna,
My heart goes out to you. I am a great lover of German Shepherds and over the years I have had to make the decision to let them go so that they didn't suffer from the pain of hip dysplasia. It has been the most difficult decision because when my faithful best friend was lying in her bed she seemed perfectly fine. That silly happy-to-see-ya look on her face and the wag of her tail was unchanged. However, like your sweet pup, she was in terrible pain when she had to get up and do anything.

When the decision was made to let her go I cooked her a standing rib roast and carried her to the beach because it was her favorite place and had a dinner party, complete with table cloth and candles. She knew it was special. It was filled with Grace and it gave me closure.

Yesterday our 10 year old German Shepherd, India, went to the vet for a simple removal of a benign growth and she died from the anesthesia. I was heart broken. I didn't know what to do or how to start healing. A loving friend counseled us to have a ceremony. We buried her on our farm with special gifts from each of us. One of the treasures was a picture of our Guru with a fawn. After my sweet husband planted a tree above her resting place we sat in silence and looked out over the fields. There in the opening we noticed something moving. It was a beautiful baby deer. A fawn, just like in the photograph. She walked along the creek for a few moments and then with great joy she leapt away. Having the ceremony gave us such comfort.

Your Heart will lead you to the decision that is right for both of you. Be gentle with yourself.
All my love,
Susan C

Deb said...

I have been at the side of a beloved dog when she made her transition naturally. She had cancer and no doubt endured pain. But Temple Grandin in her book Animals in Translation points out that pain is registered in the frontal lobes of the brain and in animals these lobes are smaller and less developed. Animals feel pain, but they aren't bothered by it. They don't care. In her book, Grandin expressed much more concern that an animal would experience fear than pain.
I had another beloved dog that I took to the vet for euthanasia. When I compare the two experiences, going to the vet seemed to circumvent the death process. There was enormous grace and shakti in the natural death, and none in the vet induced death. That was my experience.

Both animals however, gave me extraordinary contact from beyond the third dimension. And I have no doubt that either way is a right and fine way to transition. We make this choice for the pets we love and it is never easy.

This question of responsibility for pets, also corresponds to my own feelings about my future transition. I'm reminded that my guru said that death is the most important event of one's life. We should live in a way that prepares us to be an example to others in death. Do we have the right to take that away from a pet? I don't know. I would like to think I will have the courage and strength to make my transition naturally. But, honestly, there is a part of me that is comforted by the notion that given a really bad diagnosis, I can go straight to hospice and be drugged and pain free to the end. I truly have no idea how that will go until I get there. Making that decision for a beloved companion animal sort of puts us there ahead of time. Donna, you have my deepest, heartfelt sympathy.

Harriette said...

Donna, dear One - Your heart speaks volumes of your beloved Cody. It is so hard to release the ones we love even knowing it is the pattern of life. I do not see that anyone or anything should be bound by pain and suffering when freedom is available. What a gift. Know that you are supported to take any step you choose. May you both be free. Love, Harriette

ari said...

I've witnessed a fair amount of people die. Some unexpectedly, although being in the intensive care unit makes death closer to the doorstep. Others knew death was near, it was merely a matter of "pulling the plug".
People who seemed at peace with themselves seem to have a more peaceful transition. The "important" people, or very egotistical people they have the toughest time. The fear manifests in some intense behavour.
I've personally had some incredible feelings of love helping people pass on. It's helped me understand when we leave this earth there will be a lot of love.

TCR said...

You have rightly pointed out the importance of our thoughts. They do, to a large extent, determine the choices we make and subsequently the reality we experience. I don't doubt that at all. But they are secondary to me in importance in terms of shaping who we are.

Our thoughts do not come to us willfully . That is, we do not decide to think what we are going to think before we think it. Instead, our thoughts come to us freely. They are as natural to us as the instinct to breathe. To understand this, for me, is to grasp a fundamental truth.

Since I believe this to be true, I want to know what is behind them. What shapes or controls our thoughts? In my opinion the only rational answer to this question is found in the varied experiences we have. These unique experiences truly determine what we think and ultimately who we are. As a consequence, we are all subject to the whims of experiences over which we have no control. In other words, when all is said and done, and every view has been posted on every site on the internet, it comes down to the fact that we are all conditioned to think, to feel, to act in certain ways. All of which determine who we are.

The only questions that remain are these: Who or what controls the circumstances of our lives? And secondly, for what purpose, if any?

D. R. Butler said...

Your reasoning and logic is very good. Obviously you have a sharp mind. However we do have a different understanding of certain things.

For example you said, 'That is, we do not decide to think what we are going to think before we think it.' For most people this is indeed true, but it has been proven by many that it is truly possible to decide what to think before we think it, so as to think only positive, constructive thoughts and to refuse to think negative, destructive thoughts. It takes both training and practice to attain this ability, but I assure you that it is possible. It's simply a matter of disciplining the mind, which most people know extremely little about.

It is very true that 'we are all conditioned to think, to feel, to act in certain ways. All of which determine who we are.' However, it is equally true that we can break free from the prior conditioning, from when we were programmed as children, and have continued to be programmed by society around us. All of yoga is about breaking free from mental conditioning. As long as we are mentally conditioned we are slaves, but once we break free from that conditioning we are free. This is an extremely natural process that many people from various authentic paths around the world have perfected for years and years.

Such a world, such possibilities, may seem strange to us, yet this world is much larger, older, and longer-lasting than the reality we think we live in.

'Who or what controls the circumstances of our lives? And secondly, for what purpose, if any?'

We have a choice. Either we control the circumstances of our lives by consciously controlling what we think, thinking only of what we actually want and refusing to even consider what we don't want, or we are subconsciously controlled by the past repetitive patterns of our own conditioning. It's always one or the other. Most people, of course, don't know they have a choice, or that there's an alternative to being a completely mechanical automaton.

You could say that what controls us is our own conditioning and tendencies. We repeat habitual patterns ceaselessly without even realizing what we are doing. For what reason? So that we can have the opportunity to break free from it altogether and finally be who we truly are, for this is the game of life.

This is why we are here, and we are here for no other reason than this. It is all there is to do, the only game in town. The question is whether we will actually do what is necessary to break free, or not?

"The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall they say, lo here! or lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is WITHIN you." ~Luke 17:20,21

Donna said...

Thank all of you for your heartfelt sharing..it means so much to me. I will share more but at the moment my access to internet is limited. A dear friend has been cutting and pasting your beautiful comments into my email so I can access them from my cell phone. Now I just have to find time to be here for the cable company...Cody is still with me....

Anusuya said...

I've been applying the pet discussion to our recent contemplation about how to know when it is time to surrender to cancer and allow it to run it’s natural course without intervention. Deb’s comment about a really bad diagnosis shocked me after living it day to day. Pat volunteers at hospice and although they are great with pain management, it’s not a guarantee of being pain free till the end. One of his oncologists wanted him in hospice last fall, which was not what our hearts were saying at that point. He’s been out of treatment again for 4 months, so we trust we made the right decision…but that doesn’t mean it will be right next time. We can’t make those judgements without being in the moment, so I wouldn’t get too comfortable. All you can do is search your heart if the moment arrives. I doubt anything you might have thought or comforted yourself with will apply if it does. After living with cancer so long, I know that I don’t know anything at all, and won’t truly know what to “do” till it comes round again, no matter how much I intellectualize it. These bodies are very much like our pets, so it seems appropriate to apply this discussion to our bodies as well.

D. R. Butler said...

I wish to thank each of you for your contributions to the blog this month. There have been many excellent comments and questions, which have led to some great interactions. Several people have written to say what an unusally intelligent and clear community we have here participating in our ongoing dialogue. Others have remarked that even though it is online and virtual and cyber and all that, that this is the warmest, most open, understanding, and accepting community they have come across, online or off. It is very gratifying and fulfilling to participate in all this with you. Thank you for meeting with us here.

In the lessons I always said we'd ultimately meet, mingle, and blend, and it seems on the Internet this has truly become real. In a few hours I will post the September 1 entry to the blog. I look forward to seeing next month's comments and questions.

Enjoy your month.