Articles

6/2008, HedraNews; The Inner Music of Truly Joyful Living

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

The Inner Music of Truly Joyful

The Inner Music of Truly Joyful Living
– or in other words –

We Are Not the Lie We Think We Are

By Mark Butler

Just as musical notes and chords can strike a joyful ring of harmony within, the same is also true when it comes to a person being in harmony with who they really are. We are not the lie we think we are. Only through a new and courageous move toward inner honesty can we be in harmony with “The Ring of Truth Within”, far above the current "suffering self-lie". An individual, with a persistent and sincere interest in living an inwardly healthy and happy life, can sense the deep meaning and value of that which is truly helpful. When it comes to the truth of ourselves a very small part of us knows it without question. Our only one worthwhile task on this planet is to encourage that part. Therein rests the harmony we seek. Therein rests real compassion.

The way of making room for what is real starts with becoming disillusioned with mechanical actions. These mechanical actions in part include things we do because of habit and conditioning as well as unquestioned routines and dogmas. So called moral behavior practiced through group pressure and not through individual understanding is another mechanical action we should investigate. When we merely follow mechanical ways of behavior we are not being true to who we really are. Something in us senses that. Something in us also senses what it means to be a phony spiritualist. Thank God!

To be true to who we really are is to start to wake up to what has kept us in a deep slumber of mechanical living. We begin to find that a huge percentage of our activities, in reality, are meaningless movements in harmony with nothing of real substance. Something does not ring true in these activities, something is false. Furthermore, mechanical presentations of living a better life (by psychologically sleeping individuals claiming to have seen through the ego for instance) have nothing of lasting value within themselves. Finally and thankfully, we find that a deep seeded honesty can be cultivated to see through all that is false. Therein is the start of Higher understanding and beautiful harmonious living.

This inner-honest approach may be considered a challenging and difficult way, but taking this way results in immeasurable personal gratitude and good cheer for at last we have discovered the notes and chords which strike a resounding ring of harmony. This is the inner music of truly joyful living. This is the Truth that sets you free!

Copyright 2008 © Mark L. Butler
Mark and Linda Butler founded Eagle Literary Foundation in 1994. For over 20 years Mark has authored several articles and spoken on the topics of which he writes at seminars and groups in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Texas and Idaho. He currently holds weekly meetings on Wednesdays see ad in this issue.

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7/28/05, Idaho Statesman; Eagle Developer Looks to New ‘Classic’ Building

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Eagle developer looks to new ‘classic’ building
Mark Butler helps others navigate Eagle’s strict design standards
By Michelle Cork, Our Towns

Mark Butler doesn’t expect to get a lot of work done in his new office once it’s finished. He’ll be too busy enjoying it.

His company, Land Consultants Inc., will occupy half of the second floor of the R.L. Butler Building he’s constructing at State Street and Winding Creek Drive in Eagle.

The Queen Anne-style building — which will boast doors with etched glass, walnut floors and railings, a chandelier in the entry, and four clay chimney pots right out of the movie "Mary Poppins" — is unique to Eagle. But the late 1800s/early 1900s architecture style remains true to Eagle’s strict design standards, many of which Butler helped to write in 1999, when he was the city’s zoning administrator.

Ron Bath, a fellow developer and member of the Eagle Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee, says Butler has a knack for thinking outside the box while adhering to the guidelines designed to protect the integrity of the city.

"We do a lot of reading and a lot of studying of things that are outside of this area and apply them to this area," Bath says. "His perception is almost always accurate in terms of anticipating the future."

Butler can’t wait to sit in front of the fireplace in his new office or on its balcony. "I like the multiple design elements of the exterior — the steep, pitched roof, the walls and the porch," he says.

Land Consultants Inc. will share the second floor with an as-yet-unnamed professional office. Butler wants to lease at least half of the first floor to a breakfast eatery to give residents who will live in Bath’s Winding Creek Development, now under construction behind the Butler Building, someplace to go.

Butler worked for the city for five years, and remains committed to the original purpose of updating the design guidelines. "The whole intent was to bring pedestrian traffic downtown," the former planner in Nevada explains. He’s a member of the chamber board and chairman of the Eagle Fun Days planning committee. "If you can live downtown, play downtown, work downtown you can limit vehicle trips."

He acknowledges the changes haven’t been popular with everyone. "I think a lot of them have accepted it," he says. "It’s come further since 1999, but there’s still some who have trouble swallowing the ‘Eagle pill,’ so to speak."

His company, LCI, specializes in helping developers and landowners navigate the planning and zoning departments of Eagle and cities throughout the Treasure Valley.

Butler’s personal test of Eagle’s standards came when he bought the former Nazarene church at the corner of State and 2nd streets. That building was the first of several downtown properties that he’s bought and redeveloped.

He and his wife Linda remodeled the church, widened the sidewalks and planted trees. They initially rented it out, but a couple of years ago Linda opened a shop she says fits their vision of what downtown Eagle should be. It’s now a consignment and home accessories store called 2nd Avenue Inc.

"We want to see (in) the downtown more quaint little shops," Linda says. "I want to see something different happen." The Butlers did a lot of research into the area, its climate and comprehensive plan before they moved to Eagle from Boulder City, Nev., in 1994. But Linda had never visited before they packed up two kids and the family dog in the car and set out for Idaho.

"He didn’t have a job, we hadn’t sold our house, so we had sort of taken a leap," she says. But Mark says there are no regrets. "I love this place. … We weren’t looking for a place to work, we were looking for a place to live."

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11/25/98, Valley News; Will the Real Hate-Monger Please Stand Up

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Will the real hate-monger please stand up?
By Mark L. Butler

With the overwhelming number of commentaries, letters to the editor, and public speeches and statements being made by individuals and groups asserting that this or that individual or group is guilty of “hate,” you can’t help but ask yourself, “Who is really guilty?”

It is the white, the black; the heterosexual, the homosexual; the Protestant, the Catholic; the Gentile, the Jew; the police, the civilian; the far right conservative, the far left liberal; all of the above; or none of the above?

Unfortunately, people are satisfied with a guilty verdict of “hate” being hurled upon an individual or group with little, if any, further investigation into finding out who the real hate-mongering individual is – behind the scene.

Hate mongering, and all ensuing atrocities, are a direct result of the “Ego” and its insane, ruthless, and incessant compulsion to value everything solely in reference to its own personal interest. People’s premature satisfaction with the guilty verdict comes because it is easy to see and combat an individual or group, whereas it takes a tremendous amount of effort and self-investigation to see, combat, and abolish the “Ego,” especially when it is our own.

The “Ego” is like an iceberg. Little is seen above the surface compared to what is hidden below. Sometimes we see shocking and dramatic destruction from an iceberg, like the sinking of the so-called unsinkable Titanic. Such a disaster is similar to a shocking large-scale social atrocity caused by the insanity of an obviously nefarious “Ego.” Usually, though, we only see an iceberg’s tip and don’t consider what is hidden under the surface.

This is similar to seeing depression, boredom, anger, and acts of revenge, and merely attributing such harmful behaviors to human nature, when in fact we should consider the disastrous power of violence that lies deep within a human being who does not question their participation in such ludicrous behavior. We further excuse and justify these actions within ourselves by saying things like, “Well, nobody’s perfect” or, “That person deserves it” – referring to the vengeful acts we so self-righteously inflict on others.

We don’t see that the tip of the iceberg is as much a part of the dangerous hidden mass beneath the sea as our own habitual behavior is part of the insane “Ego” that causes mass destruction and social chaos.

Isn’t the tip of the iceberg still a part of the iceberg? And, although it is a smaller part, isn’t it made up of exactly the same material as the larger mass? You can say the same thing about the “Ego”.

There is, however, a chief obstacle which blocks us from seeing the “Ego” as a criminal hate-monger. If people were to focus on such a fact they would have no choice but to conclude that almost every person on the planet would be partly responsible for contributing to hate. Oh no! That means I might be included. That is exactly why such an investigation seldom if ever occurs. Instead, we end up with endless accusations and society after society (as thousands of years of history has shown) that does not sustain a lasting quality lifestyle but merely swings from various levels of social morality, decency and individual responsibility, to war, filth and degeneration.

The good news is that an individual can change. You and I truly can be in this world and not be of it. We can, inwardly, come out from among them. If we have such an experience we will have no compulsion to prove it to others because we have deliberately decided to go though the terrifyingly wrenching experience of allowing our own “Ego” to crumble. Incidentally, only at a point after the death of the “Ego” can we experience New Birth. Anything short of that is egotistical imagination limiting us to a dreadful, non-everlasting and otherwise deluded life.

We should become equally repulsed with our own “Ego” actions as we are repulsed and horrified by the atrocities committed within society. Society cannot function on a higher level if individuals do not function on a higher level.

Let’s become individuals who question ourselves when we so quickly excuse and justify our destructive habitual behaviors, especially when the behavior results from someone offending our phony Precious Darling Feelings (i.e., “Ego).

This can provide our first glimpse into where we should hurl our guilty verdict of hate. After deliberately exposing ourselves to such a shocking reality, we can move forward with becoming better individuals contributing to a better society.

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5/22/98, Valley News; Seminar Offers ‘Healthier, Happier Living

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Seminar offers ‘Healthier, Happier Living’
By Frank Thomason, The Valley News

EAGLE – How do we go about becoming happier and healthier?

The nonprofit Eagle Literary Foundation is hosting a special major annual event at the Idaho Historical Museum on Saturday, May 30.

A half dozen speakers from Boise and southern Oregon and southern Nevada will explain at the one-day seminar how you can

  • turn anger, loneliness and boredom’s energy into new power for happiness, success and security;
  • learn “conscious living techniques” for understanding human nature and what lies beyond it; and
  • improve relationships at home, at work, everywhere.

“We’ll have different speakers in the morning and in the afternoon” said organizer Mark Butler, who’s been helping arrange seminars since the early 80s.

A $5 donation is requested per meeting, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay.

Butler and his wife, Linda, conduct sessions for the foundation every Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Boise’s Log Cabin Literary Center.

“You can live a better life, there’s a lot of problems we don’t even know we have,” he said. “This is a group that can help you find them. Wouldn’t it be wise to go into our problems deeply, to find out what’s there that’s actually stopping us from living better?

“We not only talk about daily living, but trying to make a practical connection between living better and eternal life, what it means to live beyond this life. To me, heaven or hell is not some future thing. We’re either in heaven or hell right now.”

The seminar’s focus will be on “trying to bring everything back to the now, to be more aware of ourselves physically and bring ourselves back to the present,” Butler said. “Think of all those future strains or past pains, that’s a hellish feeling. People say it’s just human nature, but it doesn’t mean we have to live this way.

“We can be one of those rare individuals that find out heaven is a personal experience we can have now. We don’t make any promises and we don’t have any gurus or teachers we’re setting up as idols.

“We’re saying, find out for yourselves how we can live a happier, healthier life now and have some connection personally with something beyond this life. All the books and teachers in the world wouldn’t enable us to understand the taste of peach. Until we taste it for ourselves, why do we think differently about our living better? We need to have the experience for ourselves.”

All that’s needed in a willingness to look at oneself, Butler said, adding an example from past experience at foundation meetings.

“One gentleman had no job for some time and was bored to death,” Butler said. “He came to the meetings and one day was lying in bed with his thoughts swirling, why can’t I get a job?

“All of a sudden he remembered the principles we talked about. He brought himself back to the room and felt a tremendous relaxing experience. All of the negative thoughts and emotions just dropped away.

“The idea isn’t to have this happen just once or twice, but to break the habit of the conditioned self once and for all,” Butler said. “We don’t have any specific exercises like meditation of becoming a vegetarian.

“We’re saying, take your daily life and meditate right now, at work. If you’re a little nervous about being called into the boss’s office, be aware of your body and relax. Over the years I’ve had a lot of people say, I’m aware of where I’m at. But we are so incredible mechanical and conditioned that we don’t realize we are not.

“What we’re trying to do here is to break it, but first there has to be an awareness of pain or being at a dead end, before there’s an incentive to break it. If we’re satisfied with subduing our pain by becoming one of the many ‘holics,’ that is, an alcoholic, workaholic or religionaholic, there’s no interest in finding out about our inner self.

“A lake becomes stagnant unless the water comes in and goes out. I feel that way about myself, I study philosophers’ writings and learn things throughout my working day. If I don’t express that and talk about it, it becomes stagnant. By expressing them, new ideas come in and help me live my life better.

“We practice breaking the nagging thought that takes over and won’t let us sleep,” he said. “Or an exercise, take a week and watch for painful emotions like anger. Catch and break, catch a though and break it, drop it. Exercises are repeated over and over again.

“The whole purpose is to live more happily and more healthfully.”

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2/4/95, The Idaho Statesman; Group Takes Philosophy Literally

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Group takes philosophy literally
Group ponders works of writer Vernon Howard
By Martin S. Johncox, The Idaho Statesman

Eagle is known for its small-town charm, good outdoor recreation and upscale homes. Now, you can add philosophers to the list.

The Eagle Literary Foundation has become a way for people from Boise and western Ada County to meet and discuss topics as grand as the meaning of life and as relevant as how to cope with anger in traffic confrontation.

For now, most of the weekly discussion groups take place in the living room of Mark and Linda Butler. They discuss contemporary thinkers such as Vernon Howard and P.D. Ouspensky, and more traditional ones like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Socrates and Plato. They also study the New Testament.

“It’s about how to understand daily living and dealing with yourself,” said Linda Butler, 37, who founded the Eagle Literary Foundation with her husband Mark.

The foundation began at the end of September, with a meeting that drew 43 people to the Boise Public Library. About a half-dozen people usually attend the meeting in the Butlers’ home, but they are currently negotiating with a seller for a 3,000-square-foot building in Eagle where they can hold regular meetings.

Much of the studies involve the works of Vernon Howard, a philosopher, lecturer and writer who died in 1992. Nationally, there are dozens of Vernon Howard study groups, and his books have sold about 7 million copies. Mark Butler said he began studying Howard as a teen-ager.

Howard’s approach to life is to consider the conscious mind as a tool of the higher spiritual self. From the minute people are born, they are forming associations, placing labels and isolating themselves. This keeps people from understanding their “true nature” and denies them people and security.

Howard’s wisdom is often humorous: “Men who fall from a canoe while standing up to attract attention always claim someone pushed them,” or “A truly happy man is one who feels no different when the party ends than he did while it was going on.”

“He’s a wise man who presents the truth without any sugar coating,” said Mark Butler, 36. “He had a Volkswagen for 12 years, he wore casual clothes. He was a very simple person.”

But Howard’s teachings may not be for everyone. While most self-help groups these days tell people that anger is normal and they should express it, Howard’s approach is different: anger is harmful and unnatural.

“What we’re saying is not to repress anger and not to express it, but rather transcend it through understanding,” Mark Butler said. “The whole bottom line is self-change, and it’s something people really don’t want on the psychological level.”

The Butlers came from Boulder City, Nev., near Las Vegas. But they felt the area was becoming too unsafe and difficult to raise a family in, so they did some research and chose Eagle as the place to live. The couple has an 11-year-old daughter and a 2 ½-year-old son.

“People here are very courteous,” Mark Butler said. “Once I was trying to pull out of a parking lot, and a car stopped in the middle of the street to let me get into traffic. At first, I didn’t know why they stopped.”

Mark butler was a city planner in Henderson, and just started a job as a planner with the Ada County Highway District. Linda Butler teaches dance with Ballet Idaho.

The discussions usually follow a certain topic related to the reading, such as the perception that you are missing out on things in life, how to deal with anger or how to handle difficult people.

“A lot of it is self-observation. People react unconsciously, without observing themselves and seeing what’s going on,” said Linda Butler. “If you are conscious, you can see you have a choice. Anger can even give you a sense of identity.”

At a discussion group this week, one man said the writings have taught him to better deal with anger.

“I read a few books and understood my anger, and now I’ve mellowed out a lot,” said Larry, a 46-year-old house remodeler who declined to give his last name. “People often set the tempo for how you feel, and it shouldn’t be like that.”

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