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“There is nothing in the whole universe that represents a threat to who you really are.”
DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR YOURSELF
We can always do something good for ourselves and the evidence of that will now be presented. Please just relax. Start with your physical self, your arms and maybe your jaw, and notice now where you are unnecessarily tight and tense, then just let it drop. You see when you sit back and relax, that makes you conscious of the tension and pointless anxiety that you had just three seconds earlier. When you’re nervous you don’t know you’re nervous. You feel it but you don’t know it. When you carry the burden of the world around, you don’t know that it’s on top of your shoulders and head. All right, constantly throughout your day go through the little temporary discomfort of deliberately allowing yourself to become comfortable.
A LITTLE SELF-HONESTY
It’s not shameful to be scared, it’s not shameful to be angry, these are states. What is shameful is to refuse to admit it. Your body knows when you are angry, your voice knows when you’re afraid, why can’t we simply say, “Look how astonishing, I’m far worse off than I ever believed I was. Well what do you know.” Now with that honesty you have the facts on hand and you can then go on to say, “You know there must be a lot more of those things in me, there must be a lot of pretense, fakery, and there must be an awful lot of me that says I know when I really don’t because I have no gold. Instead I’m carrying a sack of rocks around on my back and it’s pretty burdensome and pretty painful.” See what a little self-honesty can do for a human being.
GO THROUGH YOUR DAY WIDE AWAKE
I urge you to practice this one simple exercise in your own way, so that you do give yourself a jolt, which is the revelation that if you think intelligently toward your problem, that intelligence has a tendency to want to grow, to expand, become more powerful, and that’s exactly what it will do.
One of the beauties of the spiritual path is for you daily, not weekly, to go through your day wide awake. Other people don’t know it. Gentlemen, you work among all those other men — they don’t know that you picked up that tool box and carried it consciously from your car to the building where you work, but you knew it.
Every day you will see yourself living in this secret, silent enormously healing atmosphere that you have admitted inside yourself. Now, that gives you the inner happiness, the light and the freedom. This world was made for you to enjoy.
SEE THROUGH FALSE STRENGTH
This exercise is to see through false strength. On top of a piece of paper write False Strength, then number them and keep each point short. Your first point might be, I suspect that one of my false strengths is trying to please someone in a short conversation by saying the right thing. Point two, I suspect that one of my fakeries is dressing a certain way that would create a favorable impression on me. Go on as long as you want. The good news is: Seeing through false strength is what eventually enables you to see what true strength is.
BE MORE INTELLIGENT THAN NEGATIVITIES
At the exact moment of the appearance of an egotistical thought, a fierce hateful feeling, at that precise moment you must want to be more intelligent than it is. You can’t run away, you can’t excuse it, you can’t lie and most of all you can’t enjoy it.
DO NOT OBEY IMAGINARY PERSONALITY
You will never again suffer along with any other person. What you will do — and I realize this is much easier to say than to do, but I am giving you the blueprint. When someone in trouble wants something from you, you are not going to go into any kind of a false reaction at all. What you’re going to do is stay on top of that ditch and understand everything about that man who’s down in it suffering. Don’t you dare ever again obey the promptings of your invented self-image of being a helper, a kind person. Don’t you ever again obey that wicked order from your own imaginary personality, and jump down to help him. You’ve done the exact opposite, you've injured him and you've injured yourself. You were weak and you deliberately disobeyed the law of Truth inside you and got punished by it.
EXPAND THE LITTLE BIT OF PURITY
Your desire to be in this room, to study, to practice exercises, that one ounce of rightness in you, as little as it is, is one hundred percent pure. How can rightness ever be ninety-nine percent, it’s one hundred percent pure. However that little bit of light is all by itself, so to speak, in surrounding darkness, and there’s a lot of darkness against that light, but the little bit of light is always pure. God is pure. God is innocent. Truth is light. The idea is to try to expand the little bit of purity, which you are now doing.
IS IT REALLY NECESSARY?
When you're alone or out in the world, from now on I want you to see everything you do as a need — something that you must have or do. Don’t label what you do and think. Don’t call it a noble ambition, don’t call it being in love, don’t call it a great thing that’s happening to you, but rather see the act, the feeling, the thought as a need that you have. Now throw everything you do into a basket which you call your need basket. Then look at every one of those things that you've called a need and find out whether they’re true or false. Your work comes in where you examine a thought and ask yourself, “Was that really a necessary thought or did I think it was a need?” Oh, how shocked, and yet edified you will be as you look at that basket with its dozens of items in it, and simply try to see which needs are true, which are false, and which are natural. It’s natural to talk with others for example. You know what physical needs are, the need for rest for instance. As a spiritual student, you must begin to separate everything you do into what is really necessary, and what you say is good, necessary and even happy for you. As you do this you will invite a higher intelligence than you now have which will do the separating for you.
GENTLEMAN — TAKE RIGHT CHARGE
Please write down four words, Gentlemen Take Right Charge. I want you to take that piece of paper with you for several days and let the message sink into you, and when you do, you will know that the understanding of it is the same thing as the action you will take with it.
I told you to take right charge and you’ve lots of questions about it. “How should I talk to a woman?” for example, or “How should I handle that sudden crisis that came up?” You will know how to take right charge by understanding the spiritual meaning in back of it.
If you have an apple tree, you understand how to take care of it, which is perhaps to water that apple tree every other day. Your understanding of that apple tree is the same thing as your action. You know that it needs water and that knowing puts your physical body into action and the tree gets what it needs. And you've handled the situation rightly.
Gentlemen, ponder, reflect upon the one fact that you have not taken into consideration yet is that you — you as a man — have your special requirements and your special rewards. The reward is you becoming a right kind of man. Gentlemen, take right charge.
VALUE THE ONLY THING THAT HAS VALUE
What is worse than someone who doesn’t value the only thing in this world that has value, which is the salvation of his soul. God says you have to go one hundred percent in favor of Me and one hundred percent against darkness. I want you to start thinking about that. Write in your mind and on a piece of paper, one hundred percent for God, one hundred percent against Satan.
WHAT WAS I ABOUT TO SAY?
I’m going to give you a practical exercise. Ask yourself, “What was I about to say?” You’re going to talk to people just a few minutes from now. I want you to put your attention back on yourself and to see that you’re just about to say something to another person which is totally impractical, and to see the motive behind it. See, when we’re nervous, we talk all the time, and we try to explain ourselves, “Well, this is what I really meant.” Slow it down to the point where you can actually see the thought and catch what you were going to say while it’s still in the mind before you express the words. If you catch it there, the light of awareness will cancel out the sentence such as something you later regret.
MY REACTION IS WHAT I REALLY AM
Here’s an exercise to practice for a long, long time. It will give you astonishing although perhaps shocking self-knowledge. Write down and remember the following sentence: When I spill food all over the floor, my reaction is what I really am. Understand?
RUN OUT OF YOURSELF
The fear of running out of yourself, of being empty, of having no place to go, that fear is so enormous that you live in it as your protector instead of as the enemy, which it is. Not knowing, never having experienced anything outside of you, you insist that your anxieties, your ramblings, is all there is. I tell you that it is not all there is.
Now I know this as a personal fact so I can describe the voyage to you, what you must do. I can tell you about the island itself that there are no wild animals to attack you there, there’s no fear and loneliness or isolation on that other land, I can tell you about it, but you have to make the decision yourself to start sailing away from yourself.
How do you start? Start now while I'm talking, to describe yourself to yourself as you are at this very moment. You can do it and still listen to me. I want you to describe the wasteland with all its various beasts and ghosts and demons and hauntings, I want you to confront it, bluntly, fully, so that something in you shuts up. So that the blabbermouth, the phony neurotic, the phony flamboyant human being inside of you shuts up and because it can no longer talk in the face of the awfulness it has discovered inwardly. And you will shut up. You will stop this nonsensical blabbing and you'll look in stunned awe at it. Thank God that a human being has the opportunity to run out of words. And when you run out of words, that’s the same thing as running out of intellectual, phony, pursuits of trying to find yourself. Want to go faster? Then all you have to do is perform the exercise I just gave you, perform it fifty times a day at the minimum.
WORK ON THREE DIFFERENT EXERCISES A DAY
Select and write down three different exercises and use them for the whole day, which I will explain. Let’s say that exercise one would be the watching of your thoughts as they arise. And you say, “What did I just think? I see that I thought I was very clever in that remark I made.” The second exercise could be simply knowing what you're doing physically. For instance you caught yourself falling spiritually asleep, and because you caught it, when you picked up a book you were aware of doing it. The third exercise could be observing what kind of a mood other people are in — that person I live with, just now is befuddled over something, or the man I saw in the supermarket, he’s irritated over something. Then the next day get another three exercises. It’s very good to concentrate on just three because you can remember them.
REMEMBER THE TRULY IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE
Remember, above all, the only truly important things of life are the things that we covered in class this morning. Nothing else counts. You have to learn to put first things first, but you have to study and work and exercise to find out that you've been putting tenth things first, fiftieth things first. First things first means that you understand that there is a power outside of you. You now think of yourself as a power and as a center of operations. That has no power at all and it is not a center of operations. Think, ponder, work, and above all, above all, love what we’ve talked about this morning and in previous meetings. Love that, and one day you will see that it is indeed, in fact, the only important topic for you to think about all day long, consistently and with great affection.
WATCH YOURSELF TALK
Your profitable exercise until tomorrow is as follows: You will watch yourself talk and discover as many things wrong about it as you can. You may catch yourself talking unnecessarily or egotistically. Be very, very honest, see everything wrong about it, record it in your mind and that very recording in your mind will make you want to not waste your life through useless and even dangerous chatter.
BE WILLING TO BE WRONG
Be willing to be wrong. Your willingness to be wrong will reveal wrongness. The revelation, the recognition of your wrongness is rightness. There you have a magic formula.
Remember those brief steps you were just given, be willing to be wrong. Just admit it, just know it, even if it hurts real bad and it will usually. That willingness will let you see the wrongness that you've never seen before because you wanted to push it away, because it violated your precious self-image of being right.
When you see wrongness, hold it in front of you for an hour or more and let it shake and humiliate you, which it must do. Such a simple formula as that can save you. I tell you it can.
QUESTION THE HABIT OF HAVING DIFFICULTIES
You know what a habit is. It’s something that repeats itself over and over. You have the habit of having difficulties, of having inner tornadoes. It has become a habit and it has got such a hold on you that you never even question its necessity, its power at all. Why don’t you say to yourself, “You know, that’s not a bad point, why don’t I begin to question the habit I have of feeling bad, of feeling scared of other people, people who have power, people who have authority, why don’t I question the automatic falling under the fear of them and of my own failures,” what you call your failures, “Why don’t I begin to question that”, which in itself would be a different kind of action. This would not be the same as completely falling under the emotional avalanche and saying, “Well here I go again.”
Evil cannot do anything but evil, therefore the walkaway exercise is the only one that is effective for it. What does walk away mean? Here’s an example. There’s a person threatening you, there’s an organization that is trying to make you feel as if it has power over you. What do you do, you walk away either physically, mentally or psychologically.
Do this exercise from now until the next meeting: “What keeps me from dropping worry right now? Nothing.” Once you have it written down, keep it in front of you and absorb it.
CHOOSE RIGHT, NOT WRONG
Your exercise until tomorrow morning is to say and to feel with the Spirit of Truth, “I choose God.” Always come back to that, but if you slip, and choose wrong, all you have to do is come right back and say, “I choose God,” and God will activate Himself.
YOU WERE MEANT TO GROW
You were meant to grow. You were meant for example to take this sentence, “Nothing is going to stop me,” and make it come true for you. Your request goes to a vertical and not a horizontal source.
I tell you, you have overlooked the greatest, most marvelous source for strength simply because you don’t do it over and over again, and that is to ask for it. Be very, very careful that you're not just talking to yourself. Here’s how you can tell the difference; if nothing happens, you're praying to yourself. Spiritual rightness now is the only thing you need to have. If you're afraid to do what is right, do it anyway.
GO RIGHTLY SERIOUS
Your exercise, until we meet again, is to go serious. To be rightly, spiritually serious is simply the absence of everything that is giddy, dizzy, strained, painful and wrong. When you have accomplished, even in a small way, the ability to suddenly come home to yourself, to stop running around in the slums, the very first feeling of that, the sensing of it, will make you want to do more of it because you will understand the words and the state behind the words.
LET LOWER WAYS FALL AWAY
Here’s an exercise about truth and action. You know what a truth is. A truth is that you have something higher to do with your life than you are now doing. Say it to yourself, “I have something higher to do with my life than I am now doing.” Now you follow that truth up with action. You can’t just read the books, you can’t just listen to the talks, you have to go into action. The action is “I will let my lower ways fall away.”
WATCH CHILDISH BEHAVIOR
Here’s a little exercise, look at everybody you meet between now and the next banquet and even beyond that, and your one specific exercise and lesson will be for you to see childishness, and recognize it when you see it. I'm talking about five and fourteen-year old behavior. What an easy exercise you have. There is so much abundant material for you to work on, spot it and then turn it back on yourself and catch yourself in equally childish behavior.
YOU NEED NOT FEAR ANYONE
Here’s something beautiful right now. Truth says there is no need for you to be afraid of anyone. This means you are going to have to do some work, do something different, which is to bear your own burdens. Bearing your own burdens starts with you refusing to toss them off onto the shoulders of someone else. That is such a subtle lack of responsibility that you don’t see it. Therefore, the first step is for you to watch your daily behavior when talking to others and see how you try to get rid of the burden by putting it onto someone else instead of understanding and dissolving it. It can be done. Let it be done.
I’M GOING TO UNDERSTAND MYSELF
Try sometime to simply be in a situation of extreme alertness. Let’s say someone comes up and talks to you and you're in a situation you don’t understand. Start right by saying to yourself, “Now if I'm uncomfortable the discomfort obviously is in me, not in the situation. I'm the one who’s feeling it.” Ask yourself, “How can I get some understanding out of this situation that will free me from my old nature?” Why not introduce into your life, into your social affairs, into your home life, a new kind of intelligence that dares to say, “From now on instead of trying to get something, I'm going to understand myself.” Here’s what will happen when you do that. Eventually, finally, you'll be free of all torments, all self-centeredness, all self-agony that you have which is involved in trying to save yourself through acquisition, which can’t be done.
“Isn’t Vernon the greatest? I thank God he came to me and that somehow I was able to appreciate him straight off the bat.”
— Man from Australia via e-mail