Lester Levenson: Keys to growth

SPIRITUAL GROWTH

The best place to grow is right where you are. The best time is now.

The more difficult the world is, the more incentive there is to seek the true happiness—the Self. When life is easy, the incentive is not as strong. This human, physical life that we are now in is the most difficult thing that we will ever experience, and therefore it presents the greatest opportunity for growth and Self-realization. However, if one does not seek the Self and goes along with the world, then one’s delusion and ignorance increases, and that is the only real danger of being in this world.

The Self

Your effort should be for proper identity. Identify with your Self!
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Spiritual advancement is determined by how much you identify with your real Self.
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Everything you are seeking, you are, and very foolishly saying you are not. That’s part of the enigma: everything everyone is seeking with such intensity, one has, and much more.
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‘It’ is you. When you say ‘I’, that is the infinite. Great big joke! Here you are, infinite, looking for your Self, which you are!
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It is what you have always been.
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The ego

The whole object of the path is to let go of the ego. What remains is your Self.
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We can only expand out of the ego.
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Ego is the sense of “I am an individual separate from the All.”
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Growth is transcending your false self, your ego, which is no more than an accumulation of habits.
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Whenever there is an emotional reaction, there’s ego.
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Whenever there is effort, there’s ego.
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When you learn to recognize the opposition of the ego you can let go of it. After practice it is easy, and after you let go of enough ego you just naturally feel the peace and joy of your Self.
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No matter how far we have advanced on the path, the ego is always a treacherous companion that can take us off the path.
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(Many are those who have fallen into the ego trap of believing they were exceptional.)
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Happiness

Happiness is what tells us we are going in the right direction.
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There is no happiness except that of experiencing your Self. When you see that, it makes the path very direct. You stop chasing the rainbow and you go for the happiness where you know it is, right within you.
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The first teacher is misery; it is usually the first thing that causes us to seek the way out. We start on the path in order to escape misery, but then we experience the Self and we keep going because it feels wonderful.
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It’s actually a path of taking on more and more of your natural state of being infinite. You give up limitation, you give up misery, but you never give up anything worthwhile, you never give up anything good.
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On the path you never give up anything–you just take on more and more of what you really want until you have the All.
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It all depends on you

Only you can uncover what you are.
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Only you can undo what you have done to yourself. You did it, and you must undo it.
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Your growth depends only on you. The only one who is going to change you is you.
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Your only real friend is you. Your only real enemy is you. You are your own enemy to the degree you limit your Self; you are your own friend to the degree you free yourself.
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(You must go it alone. Organized religions are for those who are at a lower level, and are not suitable for you.)
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You must have a very strong desire to change, because you are such a victim of habit that you want the world as much as a drowning man wants air. To counteract that, you must want to know your Self as much as a drowning man wants air.
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Your success is determined by your desire for it.
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Longing for liberation is the key. Once you get that you’ll be carried all the way.
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As you grow, the whole world opens wide for you; you experience so much more. However, even if you have this whole world, you’ve only got a dot. Take the whole cosmos!
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Welcome challenges

Adversity will always help you grow more quickly, so welcome it.
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Everything that happens can teach us something. There is no event that we can’t learn from.
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Everyone can be our teacher. If we react to praise or approval, that is the ego. If we’re depressed by criticism or disapproval, that is ego. When we are our Self, there is no reaction.
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Our friends cannot help us: only our adversaries give us an opportunity for growth.
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Every experience that causes pain is a blessing in disguise. Change your wrong thinking and you will come out stronger.
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If there is anything you don’t like, you need to change your attitude.
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Perseverance

Perseverance is necessary. Perseverance is the key to success.
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When you are not growing you are going in the opposite direction.
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If you aren’t making progress it’s because you are holding on to ego. Return to releasing.
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Keep working hard at it to the very end. The more you work at it the sooner you will get there.
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Conviction

It is necessary to do away with doubts. If doubts arise, immediately release them as you would any other feeling.
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The moment we decide to be the Self–really decide–it is so!
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We should expect to go all the way. Every one of us is born with the ability to do it in this lifetime.
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Whatever your expectations are, raise them higher. Expect no less than infinity.
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You will move as quickly as you expect to. To move more rapidly, expect it!
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Gains
Every gain is yours forever.
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Every gain is an eternal gain. Every step forward you make now is forever.
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We climb a ladder and each time we get up to another rung we forget about the rungs below. Then, when we get to the top, we kick the ladder away.
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Focus only only yourself
Focus on yourself, never on others.
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You can’t help other people any more than you can help yourself. So, the best way to help others is to help yourself. To the degree that you help yourself others will be helped without your even trying to help them.
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The moment we start concerning ourselves with what others are doing, we turn away from what we are doing.
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Be proud of your spiritual accomplishments, be happy with them, but keep them to yourself.
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Giving advice is the ego playing God.
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Knowledge
Knowledge has to be experienced.
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It takes more than faith: it takes knowledge. You start with faith, but you must convert it to knowledge. You must experience it first-hand, and then you know it.
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In order to really understand, we must experience the knowledge. When you experience it, it is no longer intellectual.
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Studying the illusion helps make it real. If you want to know the truth, don’t study the opposite.
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Don’t try to complicate it; it’s the simplest thing in the world.
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It would be so fast if people would, with constant, intense effort ask: ‘What am I?’ When you get the answer to ‘What am I?’ then you have control over your body and mind.
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You may see fully who you are and not be able to maintain it. What happens is that, being the infinite Self, we can get a glimpse of the infinite, hold it for a while, and then suddenly feel as though we’ve lost it. The reason for that is that the mind has not been eliminated. The subconscious thoughts of limitation are submerged for the moment. You may go completely into your Self and let go of the mind temporarily. You haven’t eliminated the mind, you just momentarily let go of it. So there you are, for the moment, totally the infinite Self. However, the mind that has been submerged reemerges, and then the ego takes over and you just can’t understand what happened to you, what brought you back into the heaviness of the world again. What is required is that we re-establish that state of the Self again and again until it becomes permanent. Each time we do it we scorch more of the mind until finally we have scorched the entire mind. Then we are permanently established in the Self. Then you sit back and the mind is out there and the body is out there and you are not the mind, you are not the body. As long as you know you are not the mind and the body, both of them can go on to their heart’s content, and you know that they cannot touch you.

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