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“There is nothing in the whole universe that represents a threat to who you really are.”
“Do this exercise please. It will take you time to get it, but repeat it over and over. Something bothers you such as a remembrance of a shameful thing, a confusion; instead of trying to think your way out of that difficulty, whatever it is, you’re going to remind yourself to look up and even do it physically by raising your head. This is a cooperation between the mental and the physical and that’s good. Now you’ve got two parts of you working for you. Look up is both a symbolic and spiritual reminder for you to go to the higher world instead of staying where you are. Simple as it is, it will be very effective for you. All the little parts will come together, and it will be quite clear to you what self-salvation means.”
RISE ABOVE HURTING OTHERS
“Write down on a piece of paper, ‘Where and how do I love to hurt people?’ I know some of you may not even want to do that because even that is too much for your vanity, for your self-image, that you can never hurt anyone. That woman on the phone who didn’t handle that business matter as promptly as you wanted it to be, and you know that all you have to do is to make a sarcastic remark and hang up and you’ve got your revenge and you left her with your negative vibrations. Can you think of anything more neurotic or more self-destructive than liking to injure another person, making him feel bad by the look, by the snarl, by the scowl? Why would anyone do that? Very simple, because the individual has refused to see that it’s not necessary and has refused to rise above himself.”
WATCH YOUR MIND
“In the middle of any day, sit on your couch and watch your mind operate and see that there is nothing you can do about it. That is where you get the knowledge that you can’t turn yourself off. Just see that your mind is churning and you can do nothing about it.”
“From now on, you will realize that you go from a practical thought such as fixing the lunch or answering the door, to a state in which you're not even thinking about anything practical. You're in nowhere; nothing good is happening and now you are in dreadful danger. Now, listen to what I'm going to say next. Only when you are spiritually alert are you safe. You could have, from the few steps from the kitchen to the door, as a diligent student of higher truth, turned away from the lunch because you don’t have to think about that now and you are going to think about the door when you get to it.
During that few yards between the two, you could have given yourself an awakening jolt. You could have done it physically. I straightened my shoulders up as an illustration. Stand up straight, walk up straight, and you could have noticed your arms dangling, going back and forth as they do when you walk. You could have looked around the room, noticed the bird that flew right by the window as you went by. You could have been physically aware and spiritually aware at the same time.”
“Here’s your exercise. Write down the ten most common spiritual facts you know including, ‘I take myself with me wherever I go.’ Start with that one. Now realize that you wrote it on a piece of paper and you can read the words in English, ‘I take myself with me wherever I go,’ but understand that that’s as far as it goes. Your understanding is of the words and without the experience, because if you did understand that you take yourself wherever you go, you'd stop going places. You'd stay home.”
WONDERFUL ENDLESS SELF-DISCOVERY
“I'm going to put this as a question. What happens when you get out of bed in the morning? What should happen when your feet touch the floor for the first time, or even before that, is that you know you got out of bed. You know you're walking into the next room. You know you're turning on the water to make the tea or the coffee. That is the glorious spirit of endless self-discovery.”
THE HIGHER LIFE
“Your exercise is to make first the determination that you're going to keep your mind on high things, on truly good things, and you know what they are. In your heart, you know. And then you're going to see how easily the evil influences can come up and take your attention away from you reviewing what happened to you today. You could have been reviewing some little incident that you didn’t understand that you want to understand, maybe a disappointment, an envy. See how you're being tricked, how your attention is being stolen.”
SAY ‘NO’ TO FEAR
“Will you please triple this simple exercise during the day of seeing how you have yielded to a fear impulse instead of calling up your treasure chest of spiritual facts, which could chase the fear away. Time to go back to the simplest exercises you can think of: ‘I am not going to be intimidated again by any kind of darkness. It’s had its way with me long enough.’
Take paper and pencil and write down more battle cries of freedom that occur to you, and certain ones will be triply meaningful to you. And when you get these sudden stronger surges of rightness, hang onto them. Underline: ‘It’s time I said no, even if I don’t fully understand what I'm talking about.’ You are talking about choosing one little candlelight of light, knowing that it’s only one little candlelight, but you can use that to put it into the darkness and another candle will appear and more and more all the time.”
BE AWARE OF PHYSICAL MOVEMENTS
“You're to follow the instructions I am about to give you. Effective as of right now you are to notice, be aware, of every small or large physical movement that you make — no exceptions.
It is not, of course, necessary to go through all your days noticing every little physical movement because those are mechanical things and they can be unconscious because they belong to the mechanical part of you. This exercise will make you conscious of the mechanical. You'll see for the first time that you made all sorts of little movements that went on in the dark.”
“Your life, your existence as a human being on this earth is astonishingly simple and I want you to discover that simplicity. I want you to know how easy and how marvelous your day can be. And to help you make this discovery, I want to review something that you know intellectually but I want you to feel, to see the New World, to explore it.
All you really need on this earth is enough food, shelter, physical freedom to walk around, and a little recreation. The basics of life are all you really need to be happy with the one exception of finding something that is higher than this world’s satisfaction.
You don’t have to be anyone but someone who wants to make contact with the Creator, the Author of the whole universe.”
“Let’s go back to school days, and your first spiritual exercise is to think of the name and face of any favorite teacher. You sensed that he or she was fundamentally a nice person. Now, can you see the difference in what you just did by instruction and the way you usually think? I told you to deliberately, as an exercise, to consciously do something with your mind. Now, that’s altogether different from the way your mind usually operates.
Over the years you have no doubt thought and seen in your mind the face of that teacher, but you didn’t know what you were thinking at the time it happened. There was the thought without any awareness, consciousness, knowledge of the thought. Can you see the difference in the two? Do it once more. I not only want you to think of the face and name of that nice teacher that you had, but I want another part of you to be in operation. I want you, at the same time you’re thinking of the teacher, to know that you’re thinking about him. You can do it.
The more you practice the exercise of watching your thoughts, the more valuable it will be to you, because the difference between unconscious thinking and thinking with a definite conscious purpose will become clearer to you, and you’ll want to make thought-watching twenty-four hours of the day one of your favorite teachers.”
THE “I AM NOT” EXERCISE
“I want you to practice the I am not method. Write that down please. The I am not exercise is very simple, and you'll be working on it for many years.
I am not my name, I am not my success, I am not my failure, I am not my hopes, I am not my words, I am not my thoughts. I am not anything that I’ve been counting on to make me feel good and do good. I am not anything that my intellect can conceive. I am none of those. I am not my clever little tricks for impressing people with the way I dress, the way I talk, how eloquently I conduct myself. When I see that I am none of those, I will understand that they have nothing true to give me.”
BE INNOCENT INWARDLY
“This exercise is to be conscious of how your face attracts wrong comments from others. It’s better to have the experience, but there are words to describe it, such as poise, being calm, but most of all it’s called being innocent inwardly. When you are innocent inwardly, that innocence will show on your face. People will recognize it, not because they recognize innocence so much, but they recognize the absence of hostility, fear and nervousness.”
STUDY EVERYONE YOU MEET
“This is your exercise. You're to make a study of everyone you meet when you go out of this room. You're going to stand back, not in criticism of them, not in superiority, but in pure observation of what they are like and then, of course, see the same thing in yourself. You're to see that wretched man who, when he talks to you, he doesn’t even know he’s talking to you. Notice he’s talking to tell you about himself, how happy he is, how successful, how tomorrow is going to be better and brilliant. And you're to be shocked because you are seeing everyone out there as they really are for the first time.”
QUIETLY LISTEN AND WATCH
“Your exercise for the week: While talking with other people, go through the terrible pain of not doing all the talking. Just quietly listen and watch. You're going to be a quiet, composed, passive watcher of anyone else with whom you talk, and you're going to see that all they’re interested in is their talk. If you will go through the pain of not talking, the time will come when you'll see that you're an undeveloped human being. Promise that you will do this exercise throughout the weeks and months and years until the new experience comes to you, which is the realization that you are always talking.”
BREAK FALSE DEPENDENCY
“For today’s exercise, you're to break at least one little false dependency that you have on someone else. You are never again from this day and onward to look at another person and hope that he is strong, wish that she is the answer to your prayer.
Please think of the word ‘self-transformation.’ It is only the transformed self, the enlightened nature, that you can fall back on with safety and with authentic progress.”
WHO AM I TALKING ABOUT?
“This exercise is called, ‘Who am I talking about?’ Small variation, ‘Who am I thinking about?’ Another variation, ‘Who am I feeling about?’
I'm always saying I, me and mine and I never once pause to ask myself, ‘Who is this person that I’ve been talking about, the person that I’ve been so eager to save but never gets saved?’ Of course, the basket full of self-descriptions is the opposite of salvation. It’s degradation, it’s sorrow, it keeps the individual wandering in the wilderness of his own made-up versions of himself.
So now you know how to get tough. You have a start for getting tough on what’s been tough on you. You can catch anything whatever that leads you into saying ‘I.’ It really is as simple as that. That’s the knowledge. Now you have to go into action with the knowledge.”
“Here’s your work project: You're to be very alert to the next time you feel afraid, feel nervous, feel left out of something, feel that you're not going to make it, feel that you're a permanent weakling — I said anything.
Now, don’t you dare make an exception to that, and I’ll tell you, oh, the new jungles that you'll find around you. You conquer one jungle and there’s another jungle there. You conquer another with a different kind of animal, and on and on you go, but now you're confident. No, not confident, it’s more than that, confidence is there, but you have absolute knowledge from the Spirit of Heaven itself, that you are victorious. You don’t have to be afraid. You got rid of the nature that used to be afraid by exploring it and it went away.”
HAVE A RELAXED AND NATURAL FACIAL EXPRESSION
“This exercise is to go around wherever you go with a relaxed and natural expression on your face. Now if you forget to do it, start all over. All falseness wears a false facial expression. Please look into that and see the truth of it. Then wherever you are, you're suddenly going to catch yourself and you're going to say, ‘I'm going to first relax my facial expression. It’s not going to be unnatural anymore. I'm not going to put on the kind of expression that I think is expected of me by those people. I'm supposed to be interested in what they’re saying and get excited over something. I'm going to own my own life and I'm going to start with my face.’”
“I am going to give you a practical work exercise. Be watchful when uncomfortable, hostile thoughts invade you. Even when you’re seated in this room, I want you to know when a hostile, uncomfortable thought or feeling, a disturbing idea, mood, impression comes to your mind, and catch the thief in the night. That’s the first step, to catch it. If you don’t catch it, you can’t go on from there.
Now here’s how you're going to go on. Let’s generalize. A wrong thought comes to you and tells you to speak, act, do something in accordance with its evil nature, and you listen to it and unfortunately you obey it.
From now on, after you have caught this insidious intruder, you're going to NOT obey that self-destructive voice. That’s how you change your life. That’s how you find a life that goes on forever.”
SAY GOODBYE TO DEPRESSION
“I am asking every one of you hearing this talk to never ever again be depressed over anything that happens to you — business, romance, socially.
I'm asking you to never express any kind of sour spirit whatever. For instance, no matter how close that reckless driver came to you on the highway, no matter what happened to you, you're never ever again going to allow any happening to turn you into a bad person. You're not going to fall for it. Instead, you're going to understand it.”
TRY NOT THINKING
“Why don’t you try not thinking sometime?
That’s an exercise. Sit down on your couch and don’t think about anything. Watch what happens. First of all, you'll be able to see the madness of your own mind, how it’s always chasing off in a thousand directions. After awhile if you were to sit there on the couch and watch your mind go crazy, and if you watched it without trying to do anything about it, it would slow down a little bit, a little bit, little bit. Pretty soon do you know what you'd become? You'd become one of the rare, truly sane men and women on this earth. I highly recommend that process to you.”
THINK OF PUNISHMENTS AS REVELATIONS
“I’ll tell you a marvelous method. Never think of your punishments in making wrong decisions as punishments. Now, real slow on this, it’s very important. You make a choice of some kind, and it’s the wrong choice, correct? You have a bad marriage, a bad human relationship, you lose your money in a bad investment, you get humiliated, you get disgraced in some way. Now you call that punishment. You say, “Something happened which hurt me.” All wrong.
When something doesn’t turn out according to our choice, according to our desire, we say, “I'm being punished,” and then you wonder who’s punishing you, could it be God, could it be man? It’s very essential to the ego-self, the pseudo-self, to think in terms of being punished, of being hurt, because then you are being punished for being bad.
Now listen, here’s the key point. How marvelous, don’t miss it! Effective as of now, you will never think of punishment as self-punishment. You will think of that crisis that you commonly call punishment over a bad choice as a revelation, which is exactly what it is. You never saw it as that, did you? Don’t get away from the lesson now because the dark voices are going to tell you that it’s not very important and just put it in your notebook and forget about it. I'm telling you to change everything around by remembering the exercise and practicing it.”
“You can read, as you've done many times, a whole page of a book without seeing the text — your mind was somewhere else. You've had that experience. It means you saw the words vaguely with your physical eyes, but there was no lesson, no meaning there.
The same with the lessons of life. I tell you they are there, but you must want to see the meaning as well as see the words. All the time that you go through your day, I want to assure you of something very nice and pleasant. Those guards who represent the King’s truths, righteousness, consciousness, represent safety.
All through the rest of this day and tomorrow and on, if you are a student of spirituality, if you're just trying to love the King, the King will be faithful in keeping those guards around you wherever you go, so that when you in your conceit decide you want to break away from what is right and do what you want to do, those guards are ready to say, “No, that’s wrong, don’t do that. Stay out of that temptation and that dark kingdom and don’t want what you think you want because it is your weakness that wants that, and you have abandoned your true identity as a son of the King, as a prince.”
Exercise: Notice the anxiety and the shaking that is going on when you're trying to convince yourself that a certain course is right. If you're shaking over it, it is wrong. If you have to argue with yourself, if you have to get mad, if you have to try to convince yourself, it’s all wrong. Why? Because when you are naturally and spiritually right, you feel right when you're doing the right thing.”
“Try sometime like tomorrow or tonight for ten minutes only, putting your whole heart, mind, spirit, intelligence, body, the whole of your being in doing one single task. It makes no difference what the task is, whether you're cooking or whether you're straightening out some books on your library shelf. This is an exercise which will enable you to see how you've been scattered and it will bring all these parts together so you'll get the beginning of what it means to have control. When you're scattered, one part of you makes you go east and the next minute another part takes over and you go west, then you go up and down, so you have no real direction at all. Don’t let anything distract you while doing the ten-minute exercise, but if you are distracted, come back to it.
You will see what it means to bring yourself together and that is the same thing as rising and escaping that awful valley and getting over the mountains into the beautiful place.”
THAT IS UNHEALTHY FOR ME
“All next week you're going to be an alert sentinel to the armed camp called humanity. You're going to notice human beings, yourself first as always, but with special emphasis just now on the anger, hostility and fury of other human beings. You're to see the anger behind that person’s words, attitudes, physical movements and you're going to say, ‘That is sick behavior, therefore, unhealthy for me.’”
CHOOSE THE SIDE OF TRUENESS
“When you make a decision to place yourself on the side of God, there is nothing in hell that more infuriates the forces of hell than to think that you might escape their sick kingdom, that you might become a child of God. Things are in the balance, and I want you to tip the balance to fifty-one percent of the weight being on the side of your decision to simply say, mean it and stick with it, ‘I choose the side of trueness.’ Having made that declaration, you can expect to find fresh assaults by the enemy who doesn’t want to lose you, because then he can’t use you as he has been doing. So when you are attacked left and right after making your new decision, I want you also to write down in your own words, in a dozen different ways if you want, ‘God, who really exists, is stronger than any kind of attack.’”
SEEK ANSWERS UNTIL SOMETHING RINGS TRUE
“Here’s your exercise. When alone, say out loud and listen to yourself saying it, ‘I will seek answers until something rings true to me personally.’ Here’s what you're doing, you're connecting a spiritual fact, a truth, with yourself, with something that is not just your intellect. It’s something that you want to make a part of your essence. You said you want the Truth to be a living part of you, you want to feel it, you want to know it, you want to do more than think about it. So again, here’s your exercise; you're to say to yourself, ‘I’ll search until something rings true to me personally.’ It will, and it will come to you, even that phrase itself.”
“Thank you for being there for other people and publishing affordable self-help materials. I have never seen anyone speak the truth in such a clear manner. He is a life-saver.”
— Lady in Michigan via e-mail