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“There is nothing in the whole universe that represents a threat to who you really are.”
“There is no real happiness for those on the wrong side. The greatest pleasure in life is the security of the true side. You can vainly try to win over the world or you can nicely be over the world. Your task is to change your operating center from strained imagination to relaxed reality.”
THE PROBLEM … THE SOLUTION
It will help us get our minds in order to write down the problems and solutions to them on paper. Draw a line down the center of the paper; head one column “The Problem” and the other “The Solution.” Some examples are as follows:
The state of feeling intimidated blocks your awareness of what is going on, so it is necessary to observe this.
Someone you are afraid of makes a minor contemptuous remark and you don’t even notice it. You grin weakly. Will you stop that defensive weak smile when people make cutting remarks to you. KEEP THAT FACE OF YOURS STRAIGHT. Look them right in the eye and send them a message like “Knock it off.”
Did you know that if you were being intimidated by the six billion people on earth and were free there would be no reaction. This can be yours.
THREE WORK ASSIGNMENTS
WHO SAID THAT? You can begin to catch your false behavior by asking the question “Who said that?” and you will catch false personality being pleasant, sarcastic, and so on. As often as you can, you will interrupt yourself and say “Who said that?” and if it is negative in any way at all, that is the invented self speaking in your name.
FACIAL EXPRESSIONS. Watch how influenced you are by facial expressions. Catch as many as you can as often as you can every day. Say to yourself “That severe look has bluffed me for the last time.”
HOW TO BUILD STRENGTH. The next time you find yourself in a strange embarrassing situation, caught out of a role, and you catch yourself saying “What if people should find me out,” why don’t you find yourself out.
The cause and the cure of your pain is in you. You keep it going by answering the world. For example, why do you answer an accusation from inside or outside you? You answer because you want to protect yourself. Why don’t you just sit back and listen to what is being said very attentively and not do, say or feel anything in return. When you first start this you won’t know what to do, which is the precise objective of it. You’ll be scared and confused of what is going to happen to you. You always knew what to do before — you got nervous, rageful, or passed it off as a joke. The demons inside you will try to force you to go into the grab bag of your usual responses because they know they are in danger.
Do practice this very simple, very basic, workable and profound technique of sitting back.
You will change your life to the degree that you are willing to appear foolish in your own eyes and everyone else’s on earth. Just now you don’t want to appear foolish — you want to appear wise and strong. You believe in appearances and take the appearance as the state. You are deceived by all these people because you’re deceived by the people inside of you.
Make a concentrated effort at remembering a simple task. When I call for the break, you will rise from your chair knowing that you rose. You won’t do it without thinking about it — you will do it while thinking about it so that you know you got out of your chair. Between now and the time I call for the break, you will repeatedly remind yourself of this task. After you have done it, you will do a second and a third and thereby gain momentum.
You will find that if you practice this you will open up the door quite consciously because you have a right habit of reminding yourself what you have to do.
Unless you make super effort to see that you are completely self-absorbed, you will never, ever know while you are alive that there is another way to go through life where you don’t say “How is this going to affect me?”
Exercise: Tomorrow, any time, I want you to see how long you can go without mental self-involvement. When you see an object, I want you to see if you involve yourself in it. Example: “Well, I don’t like watermelons.”
THE STORM IS IN YOU
“My curse of the storm is the only storm there is.” Your disappointment is the storm. You caused the storm itself, now you can complain about the conditions you caused.
When you complain about anything, that anything you are complaining about is you yourself. You think it is out there. The way that person treated you. “Look what they have done to me.” That is the storm. It comes from the false way you think, from your undeveloped emotions, from your childish reactions. If you haven’t got to the point in your inner journey yet where you know that you curse the whole world, you are going to have to go through disappointment after disappointment. When you are willing to die and fall down on the ground psychologically, Truth will be able to come and talk to you because now you will listen where you would never listen before.
FIND WAYS TO DISAPPOINT PEOPLE
How deeply we are in love with trying not to disappoint people, so as to retain our self-image of being nice and kindly. We will sacrifice anything to get approval. We don’t want to be afraid of displeasing people. There are little phrases, such as, “Oh, I don’t mind.” You do mind. You had better voluntarily start making yourself afraid. Effective as of now, you will find small ways to dare to disappoint people who want something from you. Go home and make a list of small things that you are afraid to do and do them when the opportunity arises. Get 10 or 15. Example of list: 1) Please return this to me, Mary. 2) No, I can’t take your children to school. 3) No. No. No.
It doesn’t matter what happens.
YOU START DOING SOMETHING RIGHT FOR YOURSELF.
There was once a man who wanted to raise his two children by right laws. So one day he gathered his family in the living room and said he had an important lesson to tell them. He then looked at his son and said, “Jimmy, the next door neighbor said you’ve been taking a shortcut through his garden on your way to school. Because of this, you’ve spoiled some flower beds. He was very nice about it and when I asked him how much the damage would cost, he said $3 for a packet of seeds. Now, Jimmy, I want you to get a job to earn the money and then go to our neighbor with the $3.”
The father then turned towards his daughter, “Pamela, your friend, Gloria, called and told me you had borrowed a book. Every time she asked you to return it you evaded her. The fact is you have lost the book. The price of replacement is $4. Now, Pamela, you have to earn the money, buy a book, and return it to Gloria in person.”
“I am going to give you a fundamental law of life, which, if you ignore, will make you unhappy:
THE WRONGDOER MUST CORRECT THE MISTAKE.
THE WRONGDOER MUST CORRECT THE LOSS.
THE WRONGDOER MUST PAY THE LOSS IN PERSON.
“Now, children, there are parts of your mind which don’t accept this lesson because human beings cause damage but want someone else to pay for it. There is no escaping the law that you must pay for your own damage. In human law you might be able to get away with it by blaming someone, but you can’t get away with it inwardly because the very transgression of the law of rightness is punishment itself.
It is the knowledge of this law and the willingness to obey it that will free you from punishment, both interior and exterior. Correction depends upon admission of the wrong and then doing what you can to correct it inwardly and outwardly. The principle of this law of self-responsibility leads to eternal life.”
BE SEEN THROUGH
Say to yourself and to the world, “You go right ahead and see through me all you want. I am not going to hide anymore. I am not going to pretend anymore. I am not going to pretend that I am intelligent, decent, in control, and so on. I plead that you see through me as the faker I am.” (Note: This is about exposing your phoniness, not your private life.)
Blockage, opposition, what you call the enemy is thought itself. You have problems. The reason you have problems is because you THINK you have problems. There would be no problems unless there was a person there to refer them back to … I … “I have problems.” You think of ways to solve them. You think you must get back at that person who opposed you. You must win over that event. The thinking about it IS the obstacle. You are using the mind to try and correct the mind. It can never be done. When you see the blockage, this insight is the action. Insight and action are the same thing.
CRISES FEED THE DEVIL
Your prayers, your requests, are what you are. Example: When you see that house you could have bought for $20,000, and it’s now $70,000, you feel regret. The house is your crisis. You prayed for and got regret. There are hundreds of daily crises that arise. You think people have more money, have more friends, are younger, happier and healthier. Watch these thoughts over and over until you see what you are doing against yourself. You are praying to the devil for destruction. If you watch this, the day will come when you see the house you could have bought for one-third its current price, and you are just about to fall under again, when you remember what you’ve learned and the mechanical motion stops. When it stops there will be no pain, no regret, no feeling sorry for yourself. That little success is all you need. The time will come when you no longer even look at the house.
WHAT I DO WHEN I’M SCARED
On a piece of paper write, “What I do when I am scared.” Then list numerically what you do. Keep it simple. Write down everything you remember. This includes all the centers: physical, mental, emotional, and the sex center.
Example: I get tense. I get anxious. I get jealous. I retreat.
The longer the list the better work you are doing, and the more you know about the machine. With that knowledge, something higher than the machine will repair it for you.
HOW NEUROSIS WORKS
Mental sickness has set up a system by which it never loses. No matter what you do, and no matter what the results are, you will win an ego victory. That means this. When you send your desires out into the world:
1) You will get what you want, 2) You won’t get what you want. If you get what you want, the pseudo nature says, “I have at last been given what I so richly deserve,” and the sickness feels affirmed. If you don’t get what you want, you feel sorry for yourself. You still feel affirmed because you get a feeling, and that’s all that neurosis wants is a feeling.
Watch your mental conversations. Watch your conversation with other people and you will notice how “I” is the most important word in your life. Everything revolves around “I”. I am aware you have to use “I” in practical situations, such as “I want the car repaired.” I am talking about the psychological “I”. Effective as of now, you will catch yourself saying “I” which is false self-reference, and you will say “THERE.” For example, instead of saying “I am angry,” say “There is anger.”
START DISAPPOINTING OTHERS
You had better start disappointing people and not feeling guilty about it. To be a true person you had better start saying NO. God has not put you at the mercy of this world. You are now helpless to your own neuroses, your own misunderstanding. Don’t ask anyone for anything. Go through the agony, the hell of losing everything and everyone. Walk away and if they follow you, walk away again because they are going to con you. They don’t want you. They want to keep their sickness in place.
You can let reality say NO to sickness. And as you do this over the months and years, you will get thrilled over your new power, which you know isn’t yourself.
You will now be extra alert of how you fear to disappoint people who want something from you and you will quietly sit there and say NO, NO, NO! Ten thousand times if necessary. If they get disappointed in you and their disappointment turns to wrath, so what! Why don’t you face the wrath and the sarcastic remarks. They were there all the time. You are in danger from what you don’t see in others and in yourself. Reality will deliver you from all dangers, now and forever.
SWITCH YOUR ATTENTION
Switch your attention from self-torturing thoughts to self-enlightening thoughts.
Write a list of the sweet lollipops that people say to you to make you feel good, such as flattery. “You look like you’ve lost 20 pounds.” When you refuse the lollipops, you will feel the strength of rightness in you.
You do a good act because you are not good inside. Anyone can give you money and a pat on the shoulder. Understand why you are good to other people. This will take 50 bricks off your back. Are you “good” because of the gratitude on the face of the person you are giving aid to? Is it the formation of the old self-image of being “good”? The hope for some kind of future reward here or in heaven? I order you to stop doing anything for anyone. You just can’t get over being “kindly.” There is no way you can be good so stop trying. Remember the last time you comforted someone or you gave them something. Couldn’t you see that there’s a part of you that wants to be free of that.
When you feel a negativity coming on or are in a negative state, say “NO!” Get a right idea in your mind and do it. Example: “I am going to walk consciously; I am going to read a right book.” Be aware of how you would rather go asleep. When you meet an inner or outer challenge, turn it towards staying awake. You have to work against yourself. You are the only enemy you have.
REMEMBER THE PAIN
Mr. Howard said, “If I forget my shocking pain, I will have to repeat it. Remember it.” Let’s say something “good” happens in the exterior world. For example, I get a raise. I then forget the pain I had before I got the raise, so I am right back where I started.
The next time I feel pain (psychological) I will stay with it. If I stick with it, it will go away of itself, which is not a distraction. I am going to remember it as long as I can. If it comes back, I am going to stay with it, remember it.
You waste so much energy by trying to please other people. You are trying to please false ideas of who you are: a considerate, good, loyal, etc., person.
Do you want to please your wife, your family, and that social organization? Here you are 40 to 60 years old and you go to your relatives, that social event, and try to please them.
Why don’t you sometime try to please the Truth that is within you, instead of trying to please others when there is no pleasing of them anyway.
WHAT IS MY STATE RIGHT NOW
Vernon Howard told us to force ourselves to do this exercise: Ask “What is my state right now?” Go through the day and night asking yourself that question. Some answers to that question could be:
(a) Practical everyday thought (Baking the cake, etc.)
(b) Practical spiritual thought (trying to understand, make connections about esoteric ideas).
(c) Confused (Don’t go into despair over confusion and say “Why am I so confused, why does it exist, etc.” Instead sit back and observe it. Say to it “I am not going to be afraid of you one second longer.”)
(d) False enthusiasm
(e) Defensive … and so on.
The majority of people don’t know how to live without the wall. They need the wall to tell them who they are. If you give up the wall, which means giving up you, and get into the battle, this is the beginning of freedom. Our neurosis creates and demands walls because we don’t know who we are. Try 5 seconds without a wall, then 10, then 20.
PUT ATTENTION ON THE RIGHT THING
Mr. Howard likened our behavior to that of trained animals when we try to live up to what society expects of us. Endure the discomfort of not doing what another expects of you. When you try to see why something happened to you psychologically and pay attention to it, it will not happen again.
Mr. Howard then illustrated with a story of a man being attacked by a lion in the jungle. He gets up, grabs a stick and starts chasing the lion. His mind is so engulfed with the thought of punishing the lion he is unaware of a tiger slinking up to claw him.
FREEDOM FROM MENTAL TORMENT
One feature of a tormented soul is a compulsion to pass it on to your wife, your husband, to everyone you meet. All that giddiness, that confusion, the madness has to go somewhere and it will go to anyone gullible enough to listen.
Here’s how to work on hostile forces:
1. Do not fear them.
2. Do not obey them. (We obey them because we think they are necessary; because we think they give us
life. Right disobedience is part of your work.)
3. Do not give them attention. (To fear them is to give them wrong attention. The right attention is fighting
properly, i.e., not creating an opposite, etc.)
When someone pokes and pries into your life, say inwardly, and outwardly if necessary, “I don’t wish to explain.” After bearing it consciously and nervously for the first 50 times, the trembling will begin to fade away the 51st time.
THE SECRET FOR A HEAVENLY EXISTENCE
The secret for a heavenly existence is to learn how to discontinue yourself from moment to moment. This means that you are mentally vigilant at all times so that you can see with your spiritual eye every thought as it enters your mind, and then be very careful that that thought does not form an “I”, a self, a me, a mine. This in turn means that when a thought appears it is going to be recognized. You must not try to stop it and claim it as your personal property. It is the spiritual nature of thought to appear before you and fade out of your mind. Just notice the thought and let it go.
ESTABLISH THE MOOD WITH EVERYONE YOU MEET
You don’t know what to do when you look at another face, even a face you’ve seen a thousand times before, do you? You study them to get your clue. If they’re laughing, you laugh. If they’re solemn, you’re solemn. WHY DON’T YOU ESTABLISH THE MOOD WITH EVERYONE YOU MEET? Why don’t you be 100% spiritual, therefore, 100% in charge of yourself, and you take the lead. Watch what happens. The first thing that’ll happen is that you’ll be so at ease. You’re not concerned with any wrong reactions that they may have, whether they’re angry or whether they’re trying to trick you because you know what’s going on. You’re in charge of yourself. No one else can be in charge of you.
What you really long for is to feel right about yourself. One obstacle in your way of working is to feel unforgiven. You try to do good acts to cancel the bad. As you progressively become spiritually good, not humanly good, you’ll understand that forgiveness is the same as waking up, as instant recovery. When you instantly recover, you’re forgiven for any badness you’ve ever done. When you fall asleep and go under the doom spell, no problem, just relax the physical body, see and know. Consider, ponder, and never forget this: YOUR AIM IN LIFE IS NOT TO DO BUT TO BE. Only a tired man can be saved. If you are weary enough, tired enough, willing enough, God is right there. Here are two guarantees: If you go along with the world, it’ll destroy you. If you go along with the teachings, they’ll heal you.
SPIRITUAL WORK IS SECRET WORK
Spiritual work is secret work. Withdraw yourself secretly, spiritually from any individual whom you secretly depend on for anything at all. It can never even be a memory. Just thinking about them seems to give you comfort, but it keeps you tied to the past. Work in secret to cut yourself off from that person who is dominating you. Don’t say a word to them. Inside yourself make the spiritual life the one love of your life.
BEING TRULY SORRY
People do everything wrong with their blunders. They will do everything but simply be sorry for them. Being sorry really means that there is no way in this universe that you could ever do it again. Being truly sorry recognizes that you’re the cause of that bad event that hurt someone else. You also realize the reason it happened was because you were a mechanical, unconscious human being who was possessed by a foreign entity from the depths below. Your recognition of being possessed must precede being sorry.
When you know you allowed yourself to be taken over, then you’re sorry that you were so weak, so gullible, so stupid. The realization of that makes you determined in the right way — determination is not enough but it’s a good start — to not do it again. But you will do it again, if not in that precise fashion, you will do it again in another way. Instead of making an enemy of that man by making a curt remark to him, you will make a curt remark to your wife or girlfriend. You did it again. It is necessary to know when you did it again that you did it again. When you say, “I don’t want to be possessed any more,” you are now beginning to feel sorry for what you have done and for what you have been.
Start now to have spiritual seriousness. This means no more joking at the wrong time. No more laughing at things that are not laughable. From now on you will not make jokes about staggering drunks going down the street and you will not speak lightly of that woman who can’t stop criticizing. You may say, “Ah, she’s a nut.” She is a nut but you have to understand that below what appears to be an amusing character trait is a perniciousness that you must see without trying to relieve yourself by laughing at it.
Always take wrongness very, very seriously. Don’t allow levity or lightness to enter into it. The reason you’ve done this in the past is because you sense the dreadfulness of that person’s condition. It frightens you and so you joke about it. Spiritual seriousness is an enormous power. You will understand this as you practice it.
“The package arrived safely. You were sure I would be delighted — I am!
Thank you very much.”
— David L. via e-mail