Lester Levenson: Be not the body

This is a compilation of teaching on the subject of the body, taken from two sessions in Keys to the Ultimate Freedom (1993), and one unidentified session posted to Youtube. A wide range of subjects are discussed, but on the subject of healing Lester identifies three levels:

1. Face the pain (releasing)

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

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

 

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”)

 

Face the pain

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 you 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

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 through is the material, it’s drugs [and surgery] . 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.

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. (https://youtu.be/_Y_ODbzXrGo at 4:14:11)

 

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”)

 

Be not the body

We should see the body as other than I. Then, as a puppet, move it around. And this practice will get you to the full knowingness that the body and mind are external to you and are at your command. And when you see this strongly enough you’ll throw the mind out; you’ll work in the realm of omniscience, which is just behind the mind. You won’t need to think any more. Everything will be known and perfectly in tune. Every action will be a right action because you’ll be initiating it from omniscience, which is perfect. (1993, “Healing”)

 

The highest state is detachment from the body

The discipline of having an imperfect body and not allowing it to bother you is a very high spiritual discipline. Many fully realized masters go through life with a sick body, setting an example of not giving it importance, because the body is a cage of limitation. We are not in the body but the body is in us. Our greatest limitation is, “I am this body.” Not only is the body a limitation, but there are also hundreds of other limitations associated with it. So, although at first I corrected body imperfections instantly, I now prefer not to correct the body, but to have it not touch me, not even in the slightest, regardless of what is happening to it. This is something I started three or four years ago.

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.

I’ve done that at other times. Two Februaries ago, just before I went to New York, I was cutting down a very large dead cottonwood tree and I had my left foot on the bank of the tank, my right foot on a stump, about that high off the ground. The ground straight down–it was a wall of dirt. I had my left foot on a wall and my right foot on the stump, and I was cutting this tall cottonwood tree down–it was probably about 30 foot high. And for a moment I thought it was starting to move toward me, so I lifted up my foot ready to get out of its way but it didn’t come, and then I went to step again and I missed, and I must have fallen about four or five feet down on this foot, bent back like that.

Well, immediately it blew up; it was all purple, and I looked at the way, and I said, “Well, what am I going to do?” “Let it be.” My usual way now is if anything happens to the body, I let it be and I’ll be not the body. And I walked to the house–I was walking normally, even though that was all blown up, it was really swelled up and turned blue. And I said, “Gee, I’m leaving for New York in a few days, what do I do now?” And my inner Lester says, “Well, in that case, let it go.” Just like that I let it go, and instantly the swelling and everything went down; it was as good as new. But if I weren’t going going to New York I would have walked around with that ankle until it healed itself. It’s a good opportunity not to identify with the body. I welcome these things now. (https://youtu.be/40t381zWaDg, 16:27)

When I had that slipped disc, I’d awaken in the morning and, forgetting, I would not immediately “not be 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 [spiritually] 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, but being the All.

So again, it’s a matter of what level we are at, but because I’m now in a level that is high, I want to stay there. Perfection is not a perfect body; perfection is absolute perfection. Although you have a tendency to bring it down into perfect things, perfection does not relate to things: no thing is perfect. Every thing is a thing of limitation, confined to form and space. So the top state, the absolute, is a state of no things. It’s just beingness, or pure consciousness, pure awareness. That’s not being a body, a thing: it’s just being.

Of course, we should have perfect bodies. If we have bodies that pull on our attention all the time, it’s difficult to seek the truth. So rid yourself of bodily demands, make the body as perfect as you can. However, it is a higher state when the body does not affect us because of our not identifying with the body. (1993, “A perfect body”)

 

All physical disorders are in the mind

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 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.

Affirmation

Question: When you’re beginning something like this as far as the healing of oneself, does affirmation actually help?

Lester: Yes, affirmation is good, because you’re putting in a thought that will demonstrate the positive; and the more you affirm, the more you accept it, the more you’ll help undo the opposite. If it’s hard to affirm, it’s even good to start with a denial. Deny what it is, and then affirm what you want.

Question: But you said the subconscious mind does not recognize the word “not.”

Lester: No, the mind . . . see, the mind thinks only in pictures. It doesn’t think in words like “not.” Whatever picture you hold in mind, you create. If I don’t want bananas, I’m holding bananas in mind, and I’ll get it.

Question: How does the denial work?

Lester: To help you better affirm. “I am not the body: I am the infinite Self.” Because people are steeped in the negativity. And because it’s so real to them, denying it gives them an added push toward the affirmative. But it should always be followed up by the affirmative. Only denying would be holding on to it. This is why fear is such a bad thing: we hold in mind that which we fear, and thereby create it. Whatever you fear you’ll bring upon yourself, because the mind is only creative. What we hold in mind we create.

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, of being unconscious; not being asleep, not being exactly conscious either—some state in-between—and 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.

 

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