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“There is nothing in the whole universe that represents a threat to who you really are.”
IN SPITE OF
Here’s your exercise. Pure spiritual magic will be given to you if you use it. When you get dismayed over your lack of progress, over anything at all, when you want to leave and go away and lose yourself in the excitement of this world, just use the in-spite-of technique. That means, in spite of the depression, in spite of a feeling that I'm the world’s worst hypocrite, and if anybody knew what I was really like, I’d sink through the floor in shame. You are to counter thoughts of depression, gloom, dismay when they come up and try to take you over, by simply reminding yourself, in spite of everything you can simply make your next move a spiritual one. You know over the years you’ve been given lots of exercises. Let me suggest that you take a long piece of paper and write at the top, “Spiritual Exercises.” Write those that mean the most to you, say up to twenty. And in spite of everything, you will go to that exercise and do it, and I don’t care if you fail, if you get carried away. I want you to consciously start going against wrong thoughts, experiences and feelings. Also I want you to be quick, quick, quick.
DON’T DO BAD THINGS
This is an exercise for you to take out and think about. Whenever you put another person under fear by screaming, attacking, slandering and lying, you have put yourself under fear. What you do to others, you have already done to yourself. If you don’t want to be afraid anymore, you can’t do bad things to others. Nobody will believe what I just said. I know it’s absolutely true. I know that everyone is lost and that all lost people are so desperate that one way they get a sense of power of their false role in front of an audience is to make another person scared. If you will have the decency to no longer want to hurt another human being in any way at all, not with a frown, not with a hard look, and if you will abandon and give up hurting anyone, that is a prayer to God Himself.
WHAT AM I LIKE RIGHT NOW?
We’re going to be spiritual adventurers and dare to see whether there’s something else or not, and I am here to tell you that there is, which you will witness for yourself. Here’s the method: Dozens of times a day you will turn your attention inward and you will simply ask the question, “What am I like right now?” Look at yourself and see if in some way you're tense or in an awkward position. Then just go ahead and see how your knowledge of that makes you want to change it a little bit and relax, and still be as attentive as you were before. You have made something conscious that was unconscious. All you have to do is see it without commenting on it. Once you see the state, don’t add anything to it. If you do, you're continuing the thought process, which will then keep the state going and other things going too, which are equal or worse.
CONSIDER YOURSELF APART
I’m going to give you a spiritual exercise. Consider yourself living in this world doing exactly what you’re doing now, working where you’re working, your family life, and consider yourself as being something that is apart from the sickness, from all secret sorrows, from your inner surges of jealousy and so on, wherever you see it, inside or out.
CONTACT HIGHER ENERGY
Here’s a way to get something new for yourself. At present you are only in contact with your own intellect and not in contact with higher energy, which must be invited to act upon your present nature. Let’s see if you pursue what you’ve been hearing tonight, by thinking about certain key points, by taking them home with you, writing them down on paper, and saying, “I want to know what that means.” Do this tomorrow and for the next twenty days.
MATCH NEUROTIC BOLDNESS WITH SPIRITUAL BOLDNESS
Every time you notice the incredible neurotic boldness of lost people, I want you to match it with your spiritual boldness. You see, right now, in your present false self you're afraid of nervy people. While you sense there’s something wrong with them, the hard, screaming, neurotic woman — the demanding man who has authority — you're afraid of them. From now on, you're going to notice their neurotic nerve, and then you're going to remember that God is more powerful than that human hyena.
LIVE FROM TRUTH AND NEVER BE HARMED AGAIN
If you were to face every difficulty that you have inside of you, and if your inner world was one of truth and reality, that outer world could never present problems to you of any kind, and that includes piling the bills on top of you. Any problem whatever that might seem to come to you is stopped by your understanding. There is in reality no entity inside of you at all that can suffer, that can be envious, that can be scared, that can go wrong in any way at all. How can falsehood harm truth. Live from truth and you'll never be harmed again.
NOTICE IMMORALITY IN CONVERSATION
This exercise is for you to notice how immoral people are in conversation. When you have a choice in the matter, don’t put up with vulgarity, crude language, obscenity. The reason isn’t for you to be a self-righteous hypocrite nor to condemn them, it’s for you to know that to be immoral is to suffer terribly.
ASK YOURSELF, “WHAT AM I THINKING RIGHT NOW?”
Ask yourself all the time, “What am I thinking about right now?” Let’s say you're walking into the office, you're walking through the park, or you're at home preparing lunch, turn your attention to your mind. Be so attentive, you can know what you're thinking right now, and while you'll be thinking practical thought about how to prepare the dinner or how to mow the lawn, you will also, with your attentiveness, be able to distinguish between practical, useful and wasteful thought.
ASK YOURSELF, “AM I COMFORTABLE WITH MYSELF OR NOT?”
Try this exercise all next week. Ask yourself at any given moment, “Am I comfortable with myself or not?” Tell the truth that you are uncomfortable and you don’t know why. See, already that’s good progress because before you could blame someone else — what they did to me — which is for cowards. You're not going to do that anymore because it’s taking you downhill.
THE MOTIVE EXERCISE
This will be your exercise to do some time today. Write the word “motive” on a piece of paper and in front of it put right words, such as true motive, spiritual motive, noble motive, self-healing motive. Now you're using words correctly. The true motive is your power, call it your heart, the force, the energy. This will reveal to you your actual motives, which you really want while saying you want something else. The true motive will free you of all false ambitions, all false emotions, all false strivings. Do the exercise and see that it is indeed the discovering of your false motives by the true motive of wanting the higher that does indeed set you free.
KNOW WHEN YOU TURN ON AND TURN OFF A LIGHT SWITCH
Here’s a very simple and practical exercise, which I want you to do for the next twenty-four hours: Whenever you turn on or turn off a light switch, know that you turned it on or off. Now, the first thing that’s going to happen is that you think you can do it every time. You're in for a little surprise, and you may be quite amused to find out that you're not as recollecting as you thought you were. The first thing you'll discover is that you can’t be aware of it. This exercise will under its own power and momentum spread itself to other parts of you, for instance, the simple act of physical awareness, of noticing that your hand reached out and flipped the switch. This tends to send a message to your mind and emotions, so that you now begin to be and understand what it means to be a self-aware person.
SET YOURSELF FREE FROM OTHERS
This exercise I'm going to give you will cover every wrong situation you have with a human being who has deceived you in the past, and who hopes to exploit you in the future. Oh how beautiful it is, and I want you to work with it over the next ten years if necessary until you get it.
When you're in association with any human being, I want you to look at that person and when you see that he’s a deceiver, that she is all wrong for you, I want you to set yourself free from him or her and everyone else like that by saying the following silently to yourself: “Since you have refused your responsibility for spiritual development, I am free of you. Since you absolutely refuse to turn your attention toward what is good, lofty and decent, I am free of you because I want what is right.”
Talk about relief, talk about release from feeling that you owe other people something. Oh, how nice to know that all you have to do is choose what is true for you, then you can look at that man, that woman and that group, and if they don’t want what you want, you want nothing to do with them, and God Himself says, you must absolutely do this.
See the difference between unhealthy self-entertainment and healthy self-teaching. Unhealthy self-entertainment consists of you enjoying your all-around troubled life regardless of how unpleasant it might be. Self-teaching is another thing, quite a different process and a very healthy and constructive one that you must think about in the right way in order to be able to do it. Self-teaching starts with you asking yourself, “What makes my life unfold the way it does?, What makes me do what I do?” and similar questions like that so you can discover the real basic source of your own self-harm. It also means that you will begin to have a good feeling about yourself.
MAKE YOUR PERSONAL DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Right now, make your personal declaration of independence. I don’t care how wobbly it is, how little you understand what you're saying, I want you to actually say, “I declare my independence from all that hurts me.” There is nothing that prevents you from doing that right now, so I'm going to pause in a second or two and allow you to say that to yourself. You have done something that is a small but definite breakthrough, that’s what we want.
MAKE THE DECISION TO GET YOUR LIFE BACK
Make the decision each one of you that you want to get your life back. God alone can help you to make that decision. Your old nature sure isn’t going to help you. It wants to keep you exactly where you are. God, Truth, Reality is the only power that can help any human being.
USE A CRISIS PROPERLY
Use a crisis properly by facing it, by not wanting it to be a crisis and not enjoying it. But most of all any crisis that you have from now on, in order to grow, do just one thing — become a student again. You do that the next time you have a crisis and watch how the crisis disappears because your crisis-creating machinery inside of you disappears. Just say, “I think I’ll start all over. I think I’ll just become a student and listen very carefully to the lessons wherever I get them — out in the world, in this class or reading a book.” You will feel really good, I guarantee you because you will know that you're in a right state, and you know you're now going to get higher lessons, and that’s what finally causes the gate to swing open and you enter the higher world.
WATCH WHAT STEALS YOUR ATTENTION
A spiritual teacher told his students that they were being robbed every day. Something was being stolen from them, and they were to find out what it was. So they went about their business for several days and they came back and told the teacher, “Nothing’s being stolen from me. Nobody steals my money, nobody steals the parts off my car when I park it out there. I don’t understand what you mean that something is being stolen.” The teacher explained, “Your attention is being stolen all the time! The news item steals you away, doesn’t it, and you go back to wanting to be worried over what’s going to happen to the world, because you say that you're in this world. I tell you, you're not! You have nothing to be worried about.” The students understood and gave more attention after that.
THE THREE WAYS THE MIND OPERATES
There are three ways the human mind operates. See which one of the following three fits you:
The first classification is that of one wrong self-punishing, uncomfortable thought following another uncomfortable thought, one after another.
The second classification is the one we’re interested in where one wrong thought is followed by a right thought. For example, you have a bitter thought, and then you understand that it is self-punishing, that’s a right thought. Right between the wrong thought and the right thought you say a very large NO.
After long, long practice, you will find out that when you start to say “NO” to wrong thoughts, a most astonishing thing happens, which is that the NO is not being said by you any more. You started it because you understood intellectually that you have to get away from your old nature. And you practiced it and you yielded yourself to Truth. Then after a while you hear not yourself saying NO but Truth itself which has taken over your life, taken over your mind, taken over your spirit.
Can you understand the beauty I am talking about, that something other than you is now living your life for you and something other than you is saying NO to all wrongness and all punishment. Want to find out for yourself if it’s true? Then follow all the principles that we’re talking about here.
PURE SPIRIT, PURE MEMORY, IMPURE MEMORY
There is a scientific way in which we can pursue this subject of anxiety, a spiritually scientific way in three steps:
When you're living from pure memory there can be no anxiety. Let’s see what that means. Pure memory means that you see the fact of anything past or present without you as a self-created identity being involved. This means that no matter what fact you see, whether it’s in your own past, you do not connect it with yourself because you understand the folly, the uselessness of perpetuating yourself by connecting it with memory and saying, “Because I was treated badly many years ago, I have a right to be resentful and accusatory,” and so on. Pure memory is extremely beneficial, practical and useful. But the minute you connect yourself with it, bring a false identity into it, you have wrecked pure memory, and now you're in the third stage of impure memory, which means that you're not thinking at all from Spirit or from pure memory.
BREAK THE MENTAL MOVIE
Come on, do a little work, how many times did you fight today, how many mental scenes went through your mind in which you pictured someone with whom you were fighting? One bright day, I’ll tell you exactly what will happen to you. All of a sudden you catch yourself right in the middle of telling that boss off, of yelling at the girlfriend who offended you, and it occurs to you in a flash of light, where you have been and you call yourself back home. At that split second the mental movie breaks. You know that you are walking down the street, or you know you are approaching the café, you know exactly what you are doing now because you are no longer lost in your own mind and creating these scenes.
THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF TRUTH
Here’s an exercise. Oh, you have to work, you can’t play, you have to work hard at it but it’s fun work. Say to yourself starting right now and over the next several months a very simple statement, “I really don’t know who I am.” Now the first thousand times you say that, it won’t mean a thing to you. You’ll just be saying it mechanically on the level of the intellect. There’s no penetration yet of that truth because you're so frantically eager to hang on to all these precious identities, and if you hang on to those you're saying “I do know who I am. I'm someone who deserves a lot better breaks than I ever had, I'm someone who deserves the raise or the promotion.”
Ah, but you're earnest, you're sincere about this and after a thousand times, when you say, “I really don’t know who I am,” but wanting in your heart to know what it means, then something will happen that is absolutely a new and true experience for you. You'll understand for example that you do have switching personalities, you'll understand how easily you can put on your mask and costume and go around pretending that you're this or that kind of person, which just wears you out.
You don’t have to live that way. Will you please get out of your mind that success consists according to society’s standards; it doesn’t. Which would you rather be, successful in society’s eyes and be sick and miserable, or to be a very quiet, inwardly, spiritually successful human being who has seen through all your former follies?
The bright light of truth is right here in this room and if you listen to it, you will finally know that you can take the light out of this room wherever you go because you understand that it’s your light and it’s not out of the mind, it’s not out of imagination. You will know that that light itself has made you a different kind of a man or woman, and that new nature that you have acquired through listening to the Truth, that new nature is forever.
BECOME AWARE OF YOUR TALKING
Here’s your exercise, effective as of now, in all your conversations anywhere, anytime with anyone, you're to see how you're losing an opportunity to have the light shine on you and inside you by deliberately, mechanically jumping into the flood of your own blabbermouthery and just talking as you always have talked without knowing that you're doing so. Please put a block in the way of your usual speech manners, which will give you a jolt. Let’s say at the end of one minute the jolt comes, and you're talking unconsciously, just stop, look at the other person and end the conversation right there.
SWITCH TO THE HIGHER WORLD
Here’s your exercise: Please write down Switch to the Higher World. This means that you now have an authentic spiritual aim. It involves self-work, self-honesty, a self-wish to rise above yourself. To switch to the higher world means to abandon the lower world. It means you want to be on higher ground, and that you first recognize where you were, recognize what your thoughts are thinking all day long, look at them, examine them, catch yourself going into hostility, into depression, into moodiness.
Switch to the Higher World will become a very real and practical exercise. Start with doing it once, then you'll want to do it twice, three times, and you'll want nothing more than to go through your whole twenty-four hours seeing yourself in the wrong place and realizing you must switch to the Higher World.
STOP BLAMING ANYONE
Will you simply say to yourself as a spiritual exercise, “Never, never again will I blame anyone for anything.” That includes Papa of twenty years ago, Mama of five or thirty years ago. They’ve still got you, unfortunately. Also, the ex-wife, ex-husband — stop blaming and lacerating yourself so that now you can think about how mean and stupid you are, and thereby keep a false identity going.
You are either building your false identity, which is tormenting you, or you’re dissolving it through spiritual insight, one or the other, you can’t have both.
START YOUR DAY RIGHT
When you start the day, have the right wish to understand thoroughly, those events and those people that you are going to meet during the day and want to handle them casually, efficiently, and with a certainty that something higher than you is doing the work.
STOP THE RACKET
Part of you says, “I want out of the wilderness,” but another part says, “stay where you can be you, where you can be the center of your own attention.” One ear wants to hear and one doesn’t want to hear, and you’re caught in the conflict. The question is, how willing are you to stop making a racket? My instruction for you today as an exercise is to catch yourself a minimum of ten times making noise because the silence of your isolation is so terrifying. For instance the noise of the hostile thought toward the other shopper who got in line before you did or the regret over a lost opportunity. You don’t have to be so noisily going around trying to get anything from anyone. You can stop.
INTERRUPT YOUR THOUGHTS
Here’s a special exercise: From this moment on and then forevermore of course, you will interrupt your thought and know where you are and what you're doing at the moment you're doing it. This is the only thing that’s going to snap you awake. When you're not in practical thought, don’t go into a negative self-defeating thought. Be in a state of either practical thought or consciousness and awareness. Work hard.
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