Lester Levenson: Be not the body

This is a compilation of teaching on the subject of healing the body, taken from two sessions in Keys to the Ultimate Freedom (1993), and some unidentified sessions posted to Youtube. When asked about how to deal with injury and illness, Lester explains what people can do depending on their spiritual level.

1. Welcome the pain (Releasing)

2. See the perfection (after attaining very high state of self-realization)

3. Be not the body (complete self-realization)

The Bible says: Take no thought for the body.

The time of our death is predetermined

Lester: When a person decides to die, no one, but no one, is going to keep him alive. We can’t keep anyone here who has really decided to leave. And you’ve seen the opposite, where the body has had very little chance of surviving yet the person lived. See, it’s the individual who’s running the body who really makes the decision.

Q: Is there a subconscious desire to leave?

Lester: Yes. Also, we all have predetermined the time when we’re going to leave.

Q: Oh, we’ve already predetermined it. Can we change that?

Lester: No, but you can transcend it. When you transcend it, you do not die. You consciously and by choice leave the body in a manner that you choose. You can’t change the karma of the body: that’s a law we set up and it goes on and on. In trying to work out karma, we are creating karma. The only thing we can do is rise above it. When we get above it, if we want a body, we can make a hundred bodies. But when you get above it, you’re not so foolish as to limit yourself to a little physical body. The most extreme limitation that you can impose upon yourself is the state we call physical. And when you get above it, there’s no need for it—you’ve had your lesson. If you want a body you’ll use an astral body, which moves around instantaneously, and if it is damaged you will instantly straighten it out.

When you get above the physical body, unless there’s a reason for you to maintain one you won’t maintain a physical body. So, to answer your question, you can’t change a preset course, but you can get above it where the body becomes like a puppet to you.

Everything in the physical is cause and effect, action and reaction, and this is called karma, the law of compensation. When we know this, it makes life easy because we do not fight it. Everything is going to be exactly as it has been predetermined by us. We can’t change anything in this life; we can only change our attitude toward it. (1993, “Healing”)

Welcome the pain

Question: How do we handle pain?

Lester: The best way you possibly can. If I begin at the lowest level, if the only means you want to do it is through the material, it’s drugs. The next level is to handle it mentally. One simple method is to feel it.

What is pain? Pain is an alarm in a certain part of the body that there’s a danger there, and if we mentally recognize the alarm, the pain, it turns off. But because of a longtime habit of trying to run away from pain, we mentally try to flee from the pain, to get away from it. And the alarm stays on and the pain stays on. You watch animals—they don’t suffer the way we do. When something hurts they’ll feel it, and the pain goes. We can do the very same thing. Another way of putting it might be, “Face the pain.” Now, it’s difficult for most people to face the pain because by habit they’re used to running away from it mentally, so I suggest to them that they make it hurt more.

God wills this way and no other, and so this way is bound to be the best for you. Sickness or poverty, hunger or thirst—whatever God sends you or does not send you, what He grants or withholds, that is the best for you. Now you might say, How do I know whether it is God’s will or not? Be sure, if it were not God’s will it would not be. You have neither sickness nor anything else unless God wills it. And so, knowing it is God’s will, you should so rejoice in it and be content that pain would be no pain to you. Even in the extremity of pain, to feel any pain or affliction would be altogether wrong, for you should accept it from God as the best of all, for it is bound to be the best for you. Let me then will it too, and nothing should please me better. – Meister Eckhart, Sermon Forty

See the perfection

Q: When you were in New York and you accomplished so much, did you do it systematically? Did you just see perfection so completely, or did you realize the power of your mind? Just exactly what method did you use?

Lester: Well, when I did it, it was almost incidental. I sat down with a determination to get the answers to the questions, Who am I? What am I? What is this world? What is my relationship to it? And in the process of this I saw the perfection, and that this universe, including this body, was a product of my consciousness, my thinking. I therefore imagined the body as perfect, and instantly it was. Gone were the ulcers, the jaundice, the coronary trouble and other imperfections. It was very easy; it was like an almost effortless thought. (1993, “A Perfect Body”)

(4 hours: 1 min.) I saw that there’s as much life in this body as there is in a piece of wood. It’s carbohydrates, the same chemicals as a piece of wood. That the only life in this body is me. I put the life in the body. I saw that the body is my consciousness. And my consciousness puts the life in the body. When you see that you make the body, you can change it. You can mentally change it.

Now, the body we have right now is the education, body-wise, that we have accumulated up today. This is my concept of a body, that’s your concept of your body. It’s deeply subconscious right now. This is why it’s difficult.

This picture of the perfect body must be more powerful than the sum-total of all the pictures in the past of an imperfect body. Right now, you have to get that picture of a perfect body with a thought that’s stronger than the sum-total of all the thoughts of imperfect body of the past. When you’re able to do that, your body will immediately change to this new thought of perfect body, which is more powerful than all the past thoughts. This is the mechanics of it.

All right, now what’s a powerful thought? A powerful thought is a concentrated thought. The more concentrated, the more powerful the thought. A concentrated thought is a thought without other extraneous thoughts present at the time. The very best way to get a most powerful thought is to let go of yourself, your little self. Let go of your feeling, “I am Bob.” “I have this; I have that.” And say, “Yes, there is only perfection, including this body.”

So, I say your thinking mind is your biggest obstacle. Your mind is going faster than the speed of light all the time whether you’re aware of it or not. If you’re not conscious of it, it’s going on subconsciously. You’ve trained yourself to think, think, think, think, think, and you’ve got it spinning with all these thoughts. You’ve put a lot of importance on this thinking in the past. The importance is also subconscious, so it’s not easy to let go of the importance of thinking. And these are obstacles to your letting go of thinking—which, if you could let go of thinking, and [have] just one easy thought, with no other thoughts around, “I am perfect,” instantly you’d be perfect. I’m talking about the body.

So, it will take a continuous trying until you achieve it. And some day, through an almost effortless thought is the way it feels because your mind is so quiet at the time, it will happen. And you might not even be aware of it when it happens: you might become aware of it later on.

Be not the body

Facing the pain is a very simple, practical way to alleviate pain. Coming up higher, “Be not the body.” If you’re capable of doing that, of saying, “I am not the body,” what was a severe pain becomes a very dull pain in the distance, way down there in that body. And you can function as though there’s no pain there and it doesn’t bother you anymore. By not being the body you step away from pain. If you can “Be not be the body,” you can let a doctor operate on your body and you wouldn’t feel it.

(3 hours: 52 min: 15 seconds) If we don’t have a perfect body, and we want a perfect body, that means we do not believe or have the conviction that we can make the body perfect. It means we are holding in mind a consciousness of an imperfect body. Because the body is an exact copy of the mind. The body is our consciousness projected outwardly.

Now, is it necessary to have a perfect body? It’s not. It’s necessary to have a perfect understanding. Everything else being equal, if you can’t have a perfect body, make your body perfect. However, you can go beyond the necessity of a perfect body by getting the spiritual understanding of “I am not the body; therefore, the body does not affect me.” And this is a much higher state. In fact, I think this is one of the highest of states. To be able to maintain your spiritual equanimity regardless of what happens to the body. Because we are not this body. This body is not infinite. It’s an extremely limited vehicle. Very, very delicate. Change the temperature, it dies. Cut off the oxygen, it dies. So, this body is an extremely limited vehicle. And it is much better to not be the body.

The spiritual discipline of having an imperfect body and not having it bother you is a very high spiritual discipline. Many fully realized masters will go through life with a sick body, setting an example of non-emphasis on the body. Because the body is our biggest, biggest trap into limitation—“I am this body.” Not only is the body a limitation, but associated with it are thousands of other limitations. So, for myself, I prefer not to correct the body now, but to have it touch me not, not even in the slightest, regardless of what happens to it.

I can tell you what happens when you do not identify with the body. Just thinking of the time I was loading trees for firewood onto a truck and one tree wouldn’t go. I said, “I’ll make this go,” and I gave a tremendous push while I had my shoulder against a tree trunk. The tree went on and I slipped a disc at the bottom of my spine. The reason why I mention this incident is that this was an excruciatingly painful one. Immediately, I almost collapsed from the pain. Then I said, “Lester, be not the body.” Now what happens is that the body doesn’t bother me if I’m not the body. I was aware that there was a pain, but it was like a weak distant pain and did not bother me. I could immediately load other trees. The body acted just as though it were not imperfect.

When I had that slipped disc, I’d awaken in the morning and, forgetting, I would not immediately “be not the body” and the pain would be severe. To get out of bed I’d actually have to fall out on hands and knees. I remember doing this the first day or two. Then I’d shake my head and say, “Wow, what is this?” Recognizing the situation, I would say, “Oh, I am not the body.” Then I’d stand up, move through the day as though the body were okay, and the body could do anything and everything. And yet there was a weak distant pain that I knew was there, but it didn’t bother me. Now, this type of discipline is excellent if one can do it. Be not the body.

Q: Wouldn’t it be so much simpler to simply say, “The body’s perfect,” and then have a perfect body? After all, you control your body. Why even have the pain or feel uncomfortable when you get out of bed?

Lester: Well, when I got out of bed I was identifying with the body; that’s why it pained so. But the moment I didn’t, everything was all right. I’d stand up and the body would do anything. Now, this is a test of your spiritual level. This is much higher. This is being not the body.

Q: How can the body be imperfect? You said before that your body is a reflection of your mentality. If you know that there’s only perfection, how can you have an imperfect body?

Lester: At first I identified with the body, and then after a few minutes I did not. Do you want me to come down a step or do you want me to stay where I am?

Q: All right, go ahead and stay up where you are.

Lester: A perfect body is not the highest state. A body is a limitation, even when it’s perfect. It’s a perfect body. It’s still a body, but perfect. A higher state is not being the body.

So, again, it’s a matter of level. But because we’re into a level that is high, I’ve got to stay up there. Be not the body. Be what you really are. Be infinite. Perfection is not a perfect body: perfection is absolute perfection. Although you have a tendency to bring it down to perfect things. Perfection does not relate to things. No thing is perfect. Every thing is a thing of limitation. So, the top state, the absolute, is a state of no things. It’s just beingness, or pure consciousness, pure awareness—the top state. That’s not being a thing, a body—it’s just being.

So, to sum it up, of course we should have perfect bodies. If we have bodies that pull on our attention all the time, it’s difficult to meditate. So, rid yourself of body-demands. Make the body as perfect as you can. However, it is a higher state when the body does not affect us, because of not identifying with the body. But the top state is just beingness—only beingness. Or, consciousness—only consciousness.

Physical disorders exist only in the mind

The body is our consciousness projected outwardly.

Question: You say pain is in the mind; it’s strictly in the mind.
Lester: Yes. The only place we feel pain is in the mind. We think we feel it in the body, but we don’t. The body doesn’t feel anything; the body is inert, the body is just matter. The pain we feel is in our mind. It’s all mental.

I can’t have a sick body without having a mental picture of sickness. It’s impossible to hold anything in the body that’s not in the mind. The body is only matter, it has no intelligence. We are the intelligence. We imagine and hold the life of the body. It’s impossible to be sick without holding that sick picture in our minds—unconsciously, of course. If it were conscious, we would correct it immediately. But being unconscious, it’s difficult, because we are not looking at it.

Question: So how could you get a child to see this?

Lester: That’s very difficult, and yet it isn’t. You’d be surprised at how children can accept these ideas much more easily than we grownups can, because they haven’t been so thoroughly indoctrinated in the wrong direction as we have been. The younger we are the more easily we accept these ideas. So the way you do it is by teaching it to them—treating them as an equal and talking to them as though they can understand this. You’d be surprised how they’ll pick it up.

Question: Well, actually many mothers are doing this in diverting children. As soon as they have a . . . they run and they bump themselves or something, why they immediately—it just seems automatic to divert them, to get them thinking of something else or doing something else, and forget about the bump.

Lester: Yeah, you can see it in children sometimes—they get a terrible knock and when they’re with their playmates, they’re ready to cry, and they look and then they forget about it and they go off playing, whereas if the mother’s around sometimes you get a much different reaction. So you see how children can have pain one moment and let go of it the next moment.

Question: Would you cast pain and a rash all over the body as the same?

Lester: No, rashes are not necessarily painful. A rash over the body is due to a mental irritation that is superficial, and it comes out on the skin. Mental irritations that are deep come out on the inner organs.

The mind thinks in images, not words

The mind thinks in pictures. People think it thinks in words, but whenever you say, “house,” you don’t see h-o-u-s-e, you have a picture of a house. Or a man—it’s a picture of a man, it’s not the letters m-a-n. And this why people are able to talk telepathically to people who don’t speak their language. If we could speak telepathically and you knew only Greek and I knew only English, you would talk to me in Greek and I’d be picking up all your pictures; I would talk to you in English and you’d pick up all my pictures, and we could converse that way.

It is simple. It’s simple and everyone uses it, but because we have talked ourselves out of the idea that we can talk telepathically, we think we can’t. But we do read each other. Unconsciously we’re always reading each other. It’s a natural ability—all beings have it. All animals have it. They use it much more than we do. An animal knows your thinking and your feeling; babies know it. Only educated adults don’t. You’re educated out of it.

But that is the absolute truth, that we are infinite beings. And when we see the infinity within ourselves, we see that everyone is me. There’s no more separation. But until you see it, it doesn’t make sense. And yet anyone here could get glimpses of it. By getting the mind quiet enough, you’ll see it, and you’ll see that you are me.

Question: These, you say, “glimpses”—usually that’s all they are, isn’t it? Glimpses?

Lester: Not all . . .

Question: Well, I mean, [for] most of us.

Lester: It starts off that way. And as we stick to the path, these glimpses get longer and longer until they become fully established all the time. And that’s the ultimate goal: never forgetting God, never forgetting who we are.

Question: Is it sometimes that we only get glimpses because we’re afraid to go any further than the glimpses?

Lester: No, it’s because the ego takes over again. There’s still a lot of ego left. And then the moment we express as an ego, we have to let go of what we saw in order to be an ego, to be a limited being. So, the moment we choose again to be a limited being, we don’t see the limitless being that we are. Yet you haven’t lost anything, because to get the glimpse in the first place you had to let go of quite a lot of ego.

Between sleep and waking

Question: It seems like whenever I’ve gotten a glimpse of feeling the state of not being unconscious, not being asleep—not being exactly conscious either, some state in-between—then as soon as I’ve reached this conscious state, why then it disappears.

Lester: Yeah, this conscious state is the state of ignorance. And there’s a state between sleep and waking, where as we come out of the sleep state and before we identify with the waking world, we’re the real Self that we are. If you could stay there, you would be the God that you are.

Question: Well, before I realized what was going on, I had a few little glimpses, but I never knew what they were. But there was complete joy.

Lester: You can use them to establish it more and more. You’re not thinking in that state, if you’ll take a look at it. You’re not thinking.

Question: Just a complete quietness, but there’s no thinking at all.

Lester: You’re just being. And it is in beingness that we are God. And we can only be God. Before that happens, we say we have to get to know God. When we get to know God we discover that we are God, and that it was our pure simple unadulterated beingness. Not being a body, but just being. It’s just pure beingness.

Everything should be conscious

Question: One more question: how much of the unconscious mind should one have, or follow?

Lester: Follow? None. Everything should be conscious. The unconscious mind is the automaton that we are. Someone says blue and we move this way; red, we move that way; or says a word we don’t like, we feel bad; says a word we like, we feel good. That’s all the unconscious operating. We’re like puppets when we follow the unconscious.

Question: Are those habit-patterns?

Lester: Yes, all habit-patterns are the unconscious mind. No one can be fully happy until he or she realizes that there are no limitations, that this body is no limitation.

* * *

“Lester Levenson: Keys to Ultimate Freedom – Part 1” https://youtu.be/_Y_ODbzXrGo

“Mastering the Body” https://youtu.be/40t381zWaDg

Levenson, Lester (1993). Keys to the Ultimate Freedom: Thoughts and Talks on Personal Transformation. Phoenix, Arizona: Sedona Institute. ISBN 0-915721-03-1 (download pdf)

3 thoughts on “Lester Levenson: Be not the body

  1. The question above is: Hello, do you have the full text version of Lester’s recording about pain? Thanks.
    Answer: You can search the pdf of Keys to the Ultimate Freedom for discussions on pain. If you want instructions on releasing physical pain, see “Letting Go of the Ego”. I hope I have answered your question.


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