Lester Levenson: Bypass it all

If you thought you were not the body, you would not smoke. You think you need that smoking to do something for you. You think you need that to make you happy, to give you a certain amount of pleasure. So, you are that body, satisfying the pleasures of it. I want to clear that up first.

But if you’re taking pleasures, why not take those that are good for the body? Fresh air. And what I’m suggesting is that you think on these things. If you see the answer, you’ll stop smoking just like that, and it will be no problem let go of it—if you want to let go of it. Alcohol is a similar thing: it’s a poison. Stimulants make you feel better. But they’re bad because it has an element of no responsibility: I am not doing it—the stimulant does it. The thing to do is to get happy without these things, and then be happy all of the time.

Just know who you are, and that’ll do it. The best time to try is all the time. But it’s good to get quiet as much as possible. If you can get off to the side and you’re quiet, do it as much as you can. The more you do it, the more you’ll succeed.

But the deadliest of all things is not alcohol, it’s not smoking—it’s our thinking. What comes out of a man’s mouth is more important than what goes into it.

Every thought materializes, exactly in the shape of the thought. But there are other thoughts that might modify it.

Q: What’s the mechanism behind it? We’re the cause . . .

Lester: Thinking is the cause of everything that happens.

Q: Well, what about grace, or the help that this other . . .?

Lester: Well, grace is your Self. It’s your very own Self, which is always trying to take over. You’re always trying to return to this infinite being that you are—that’s the grace. The real grace is the Self, always there. Your own infinite beingness is always there, and that’s the real grace.

But that point that I made should be seen by you. It’s good to accept it generally, though. When you see it, then you will do just as you said. You will not do anything that you do not want done unto you, because you know you will get it back again. And if you want love, you’re just going to give love.

Q: Everything that you put out, you’re putting out for yourself, except that it’s a delayed action. And when you give out love, when you pour love out to everybody, that’s what you’re going to get. If you give anything else, whatever it is, this is what you give to yourself, because you’re only giving it to yourself.

Lester: Yes, that’s from a little higher point. But “An eye for an eye” is at the level of most people today. That’s what the Bible means by that statement. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to be taken to court and a judge is going to order an eye out, or something like that.

So, to come back to that point just before that, in order to be infinite beings, we must have no desires. Because any desire is a limiting action upon ourselves. If we think we need something, we think of ourselves as being limited. If you have everything, if you are everything, how can you want something? You know that you don’t need anything, and if you go through life knowing all the time that you need nothing, your attitude is different. That’s your feeling all the time. And should there be a need of the body, it’s immediately fulfulled—you don’t have to think about it. It’s taken care of immediately.

On how to carry this point further, we should have no need for this body. If we are infinite beings, why do we need a body? Now the fact of being born into a body is a fact that we are ignorant of our limitlessness, because we take on a limitation—the body. This goes for all bodies except those of masters. A master can consciously create a body or come into a body and not be limited by it.

So, the fact that we’re born into a body shows that we are ignorant of our infinite self. This is an indictment in its own defacto situation. However, now that we know that we are limitless beings, we don’t have to accept that fact anymore. And we shouldn’t accept it. And we should live our life so that we are not identifying with this extremely limited, garbage-producing, headache-producing vehicle called the body. Which cuts off pleasures because we attach pleasures to it, when the pleasures are nothing but the experiencing of our real Self.

So, our way of life should be to “Be not the body.” In everyday work, we just mentally sit back, allow the body to go through its motions, almost automatically, all the time knowing that, “I am what I am.” That we are the Self. That we are limitless. That we are not only that body which we are puppeting, but we are all bodies. Saying that in another way is saying, “Be the witness.” Look at the world as you would look at a three-ring circus, with you outside of it. “Be in the world, but not of it.” “Let go and let God.” All these statements mean the same thing: Do not identify with the body. Mentally stand back, knowing who and what you are, and let life go its way.

When we do that, everything becomes easy. Actually, effortless, if we do it fully. From that moment on, we have no more troubles. We can’t, as we are identified with our infinite Self. And whatever should happen to the body doesn’t throw us, doesn’t disturb us, even if the body hurts. It’s not severe, because it’s distant. If the body hurt, you would know it, but instead of being an excruciating pain, it would be just a dull—like a dull pain in the distance.

Also, the body would not be incapacitated. When we identify with the body, we say, “Oh, it hurts—I cannot function. I sprained my ankle—I cannot walk.” Don’t identify with the body, and that body will walk with that sprained ankle just as well as with a perfect ankle.

It reminds me of an experience in the war when one fellow saw another fellow lose his leg and he kept walking without—from the ankle-down was shot off. Another fellow told me—another one; I guess I can tell you. He said, “We were running at top speed, and the fellow alongside me had his head shot off, and he kept running with me.” He said he ran about fifty, sixty feet, and then fell over. This is because the fellow who lost his head just wouldn’t accept it. He was probably so concerned with running away, or something, it took him sixty feet of running before he realized his head was off.

There’s always a decision to leave the body. Like, his decision would be, “Oh, this is ridiculous trying to run a body without a head. Let’s let go of that body.” Then he identifies with the astral body. But, be not the body, and the world is a dream—a beautiful dream.

We just heard two incidents, where an ankle was sprained, and he could hardly stand on it. But he couldn’t find a taxi, so he walked how far? Five miles home on a sprained ankle.

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 went straight down—it was a wall of dirt. I had my left foot on the wall and my right foot on the stump, and I was cutting this tall cottonwood tree down—it was probably about 30 foot high, maybe more. 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 with my eyes that way and I missed, and I must have fallen about four or five foot down on this foot, bent back like that.

Well, immediately it blew up; it was all purple. And I limped 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 to New York, I would have walked around with that ankle until it healed itself. It’s a good opportunity to not identify with the body. I welcome these things now.

Well, we started off by saying, being born into a body is a sign of ignorance of the fact that we are limitless beings. The exception being masters: they can come into a body and not be limited by it. But when we are born into a body, it’s a sign of extreme limitation. Therefore, we must get to know that we are not these bodies. Or, saying it another way, that we are not limited by the body and we identify with all bodies. Every body is our body. Then when we do that, we are standing off in the background, letting the body go its way. And when we do that, the body cannot give us any problems because we are not the body. If there’s a sharp pain, it turns out to be a sort of a dull pain in the distance. And as I said before, even if we have a broken leg, we could keep right on walking with that broken leg if we do not identify with the body, as I did with the sprained ankle. At first I feel it; it’s very painful. Then I don’t identify with it; I can walk normally. There’s a slight pain down there—I know there’s a pain there, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s sort of in the distance; it’s weak.

(20 min) There have been many instances; in the past two or three years I started this. At first—my gosh, it must have been nine years or so—if something happened to this body, I would instantly correct it. Many times I hurt it badly. One of the things I can remember, I fell and [inaudible] right back here, and I just, with my finger—I, with my hand, I first put it in the right place and I just said, “Okay, it’s okay.”

Another time, I put four fingers into boiling grease. I was in a hotel room and I didn’t want to splatter any grease on their carpet. I’d be kicked out of the hotel if they knew I was cooking. So, like the absent-minded professor, I put that blintz in very easily, so it wouldn’t splash. But I was thinking about something else, and my four fingers were under it. And I had them right in that boiling fat before I realized what happened. And I let out a yell; I thought everyone in the hotel must have heard me. And I said, “Lester?” And I said, “Okay.” And I said, “Finished.” Just like that. It wasn’t red—it was just greasy, but no redness, no pain.

There were numerous times I would damage the body and instantly straighten it out. When you know it’s just a thought, it’s your mind that determines the body, these things are very easy to do. But as of two, three years ago,I realized it’s a higher state to have a sick body and not identify with it. And that’s why certain masters do that. They’ll go through life with a weak or sick body, all the time maintaining their peace and equanimity. And they welcome it because it’s an opportunity to be constantly reminded that they are not the body.

(22:20) So, our way of life should be trying to develop this all the time. Be not the body. When we’re in the world, let the body go through its work, through its taking care of the family, through all of the things that we do. And we should not identify with it.

Do not identify with the body: identify with your real Self. I am what I am. I am an unlimited, free being. Untainted, untouchable. Now, the more we try to maintain this in our everyday life, the more we succeed at it. The more we succeed at it, the more we can do it. The more we try. The more we succeed. And it goes on until some day, we are fully let go of the concepts of “I am this body.” And then we’re masters. When we leave this plane, we will do it consciously and not come back to this hell. This is the greatest hell there is. In all phases of beingness, we will never be in a more difficult life than we are right now. This is the deadest state possible to beings. This physical state is the grossest. And if we don’t go all the way, when we exit this body, we go into realms that are so heavenly they cannot be described, and are closer to the ultimate. But we should try to go all the way from this state. To us it is given to do that, not to beings from the astral realm. They cannot go all the way: they have to come here to go all the way. But we have the possibility of going all the way back, right back to the absolute.

(25:20) Now, the method of going all the way is simply this: Be not an ego. Be not an individual separate from the whole. It’s the ego-sense, the sense of “I am an individual separate from the all,” that creates the mind that creates the bodies.

(26 min) There are three major bodies we have: the physical, the astral, the causal. The causal is in the realm of ideation, ideas. Ideas are instantly fulfilled on their presentation in the realm of the causal. The astral is very similar to this, except it’s unobstructed—whatever you think, is. It’s like the dream-life that we have at night when the dreams make sense.

But the sense of being an individual separate from the all is the start of limitation. If we are the all, we are unlimited. The moment we say, “I am separate from the all,” that starts limitation. In order to be separate, we have to have thoughts of separation, and thoughts constitute the mind, and the mind creates the three bodies.

(27:00) Now, this is a tremendous thing. There is so little known in our realm, that from this realm we can go straight to the absolute. We don’t have to spend millenia or even millions of years doing it. We can do it this lifetime. But we must know what I’m saying, and attempt to establish that, “I am not the body; I am that infinite Self.”

Now, you always have been, we always have been this infinite being. It’s the ‘I’ when we say ‘I’ without anything attached to it. Just the word, ‘I’. That ‘I’ that you feel as your beingness has no limitations until you say, “I am a body,” or ‘I’ and something else. That immediately sets up duality, limitations, and all the thinking that builds up with it. This word, ‘I’ is the closest word for God. You will discover some day that the word, ‘God’, is the word, ’I’. That ‘I’ is infinite until we say, I am a limited mind or body.

(28:40) So, an excellent way of life is to know this, and to attempt to establish the consciousness of “I am not the body; the body is just a puppet,” and allow the body to go its way. It doesn’t matter what it does. Just let it go its way, and then work becomes sort of automatic. You become detached from it; and therefore, it goes on far better than it ever did before. When we allow the body to go through the work, it will do the work far better, because we are getting the ego-concept of ‘I’, the limited ‘I’, out of the way. And the more we practice that, the more we establish it.

(29:40) Unitl now, most of us have been trying to make life better, which is excellent. But a good life is a limited life. If everything were good in your life now, it’s like living with golden chains around you, where before you had rusty iron chains binding you. You become bound with golden chains, but you’re still bound. As happy as you’ll get with life getting better, as it has been getting better, you’ll reach points where you’ll say, “Oh, my gosh, I’m so miserable. Did I slip?” No, you didn’t slip—everything you’ve gained, you still have. But you’re still identifying with being a limited being, being an ego, with being a body, with this world being real. The only way out of difficulties with the world is knowing you are not the body.

(31:06) Now, if you’re going to have troubles in the future, remember that you are identifying with the ego. You could have your life a thousand times better than it is now, and you’ll be dissatisified if you’re taking your pleasures from the world, from life, from living, rather than just being what you are and just taking it directly. Our pleasures must be taken directly, not attributed to things outside of ourselves. Then joy is constant and never tainted by sorrow, and that’s the natural state.

(31:57) I think what I’m stressing tonight is, “Be not the body.” Continue to make life happier as you have been doing, but emphasize now “being not the body,” and you’ll be even happier. You’ll reach states where you just can’t contain it; you’ll feel as though you’re going to burst from the joy. Not being used to this newfound joy, sometimes it’s hard to contain. I remember walking for days, trying to walk it off. I’d get these realizations, and I’d get so—it was hard to breathe, almost—I was so full of new joy coming in all the time. I’d keep walking and walking and walking until I got used to it. Then I learned how to put it all in the background and let it resolve into that beautiful peace that passes all understanding. Peace is a more comfortable state than joy, but it’s a peace that’s more joyous than joy, if you can imagine that.

All right, now, the key to getting to this state is to discover each time that the joys you get in life just allow you to be your self, by the squelching of thoughts of need and desire, by satisfying them. You satisfy a desire, the thoughts quiet, and you feel better. Don’t attribute that joy to the thing out there that you’ve got or the person out there that you’re with. That joy is nothing but your very own self pushing through more: you’re allowing it to be seen more by you. So, the object should be to recognize that all joy is nothing but the Self, that we wrongly attributed it to something outside of ourselves. Now, this is the key to constant joy with no sorrow.

Are there any questions on this? This is very deep. It’s a tremendous thing once you see it; sorrow and miseries are gone forever.


You lifted a cover off the joy. You see, every desire is a thing of limitations. It limits the self; it covers it up. We peel off these covers, and we allow the self to be, and that’s what we call joy.


No, it depends on the way you look at it. Look upon it as a dream. That you are not the body. Let it go its way. It’s a puppet, if anything. Don’t get ego and you: there’s only one. There’s only one Self. There’s not a higher self and a lower self. There’s only you, identifying with your limitless being or identifying with your limited being.

(37:40) I said something before that I don’t think you heard: that we are very fortunate beings, in that we are born into the place that we are born, this Earth, because this allows us to go all the way to the absolute. Other realms don’t allow this. Because of the difficulty here, we can see that we are not the ego. We can go all the way, because the ego is the sense of separation: “I am an individual separate from the all.” And that sense starts thoughts going. Thoughts are nothing but the mind. The mind creates three bodies, and the body is everything related to all our trouble. So, when we know that we are not an ego, we are not separate from the all, we can go all the way to the absolute beingness, the top state.

(39:00) There are, relatively speaking, few beings in our universe who are fortunate enough to come to a place like this and to know what I’m saying: that this allows the greatest of growth, that in this lifetime we can go all the way back home where we started from. And yet, I know it’s going to take millions of years for all our sisters and brothers, for ninety-nine percent of them, to realize what I’m saying. It’s going to take them millions of years. But we can do it this lifetime because we have been shown the way, and knowing the way, we may take it.

Now, for millions of years, they’re going to suffer with [INAUDIBLE] now. Even when life gets much better—and it will—the pain is relative. If you’re born into a harmonious society, the slightest of pain—to us it wouldn’t even be pain now—will be excruciating to them. It’s always relative, this concept of pain. So that even though you go into a relative heaven, it will still be pain. So, why spend these millions of years with the rest of them? Why not be what we are here and now in this lifetime?

(40:40) And the closest and most correct word for God is ‘I’. When you say, ‘I’, that’s it. Just don’t put anything more to it. That’s infinite beingness, or infinite awareness, that ‘I’. And there’s only one ‘I’. It either identifies with its unlimited beingness, or identifies with its limited beingness. Or it shifts from one to the other, as we are doing.

So, our way of life should be, no matter what we’re doing, be not the body. Let the body go its way. It’ll do the work far better than it did before, because the ego-sense is now out of the way. And to trace back all joys and pleasures to being nothing by quieting the mind so we can be our self. Don’t attribute the joy to the externals, because it’s not there. It’s an awful trap. And by doing this, we will see that everything is ours, we are everything, and all our desires will drop away. And the instantaneous fulfillment of all desires is the recognition of who we are. The simultanous fulfillment of all desires is the recognition of who we are. Because if we’re infinite, we need nothing and want nothing.

(42:30) Now, in life, if you reach that state, you have no desires, no more wants. You get everything the body needs provided immediately for it. And we are so non-attached to the body that if it fell over, we couldn’t care less. It makes absolutely no difference to us whether the body is there, or whether it is not there. We do not complain about this life, nor do we want to leave it. Then, what happens is, you go through life as a master, and when the time you originally set for the letting-go of the body comes about, you let go of it, but consciously. You just kick the frame. And before you do that, you know that it’s just a dream, like any night-dream, that you never were limited by this body. That you never were anything but the infinite beingness that is omnipresent.


(44:00) Because we are here, it’s an indication that we considered ourselves a limited body.

Q: Or a master.

Lester: Well, we didn’t have the choice: a master is conscious. A Jesus comes into a body, but even as a baby he never for a moment loses his omniscience. You’d have to be a master to understand what a master is feeling when he’s a baby. But before Jesus came into that body, he knew his infinite beingness: he never lost his consciousness of it even for a moment. Those who come back, like Jesus, do so only out of compassion. Compassion for those who need a personal external God to worship until they realize that they don’t need an external God. The God out there directs us inward, until we see that the God out there is nothing but our very own self, and that our self is the infinite being that we are.

Now, in reality, there never was a Jesus, a God. In the end, you’ll see this, that there never was anything but “I all alone.” And ALONE is spelled, A-L-O-N-E; so the word, ‘ALONE’, is ‘ALL ONE’. There never was anything but “I ALL ALONE,” “I ALL ONE.” There never was anything external—it was an illusion. However, it is very helpful to us to worship an external God. When we know fully the external God, then we’ll know fully the internal God, the God that we are. It’s a stepping-stone.

We climb a ladder, and each time we get up to another rung, we forget about the rungs below. And when we get to the top, we kick the ladder away. But any aid is a good thing. All religions are aids to a degree. They’re all pointing toward God. Whether it’s one degree, one percent, or a hundred percent, it’s still in the right direction. Therefore, all religion is good.

(49:45) We shouldn’t pay too much attention to the body. Give it what it needs, and no more attention. This is a hard one for the women. You’ve been trained to pay so much attention to it. You can do it without attachment. You can dress it up, make it beautiful without attachment to what you’re doing. But too much attention to the body isn’t good. This is the worst habit we’ve gotten into over the millenia: that we are this body. It’s not an easy habit to break. That’s why I say, give it just its due attention and no more. And start freeing yourself from its limitations.

When a master in this world looks around, he sees this body, and he sees all those bodies, but he knows he is every body. That’s the difference. He sees every body as much his body as the one closest to him. And yet, he feels absolutely no limitation because of the body. All he has to do is close his eyes and he’s off into infinity. And yet when he opens his eyes he still sees that infinity. He sees everyone as points of perfection of infinity.


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