Lester Levenson: The Source of All Intelligence

The Source of All Intelligence

After the three-month period, I attended a metaphysical group just two short blocks away—Dr. Schafer’s group (James B. Schafer, in an auditorium located at 217 W. 57th Street). And he would call the students up to the front and ask them to give a talk to the group. And when he—the first times he called me, I told him I didn’t want to go up. He sort of bypassed me. And then, after he stopped asking me, I realized, “This is silly.” The only reason why I wasn’t doing it was that the old tendencies remain, but the effectiveness of them is totally gone. The compulsiveness is done away with, even though the tendency remains. It’s like a burnt rope: it looks like a rope, it seems to be a rope, but it has no strength. If you go to pick up a burnt rope, it just falls apart. So seeing that, I volunteered to go up and give a talk. First time in my life. Here I am, up in front of a group of about sixty people, talking on frequencies and vibrations. And I got up there and I was so surprised. I wasn’t nervous. I was looking at them, they were looking at me, and as I was talking I had a second thing going on the background—Gee, this is easy! I never knew it was this easy! And that was my first experience in my lifetime of getting up in front of a group and talking. And that was probably 1953.

IMG_2072 IMG_2074


“I realized that I was responsible for everything that was happening to me.”

From No Attachments, No Aversions:

I was beat up when I was a kid for being a Jew. In high school I was often ostracized and attacked. In college I joined a Jewish fraternity. The fellows I played touch football with in a non-Jewish fraternity across the street wouldn’t talk to me if they met me at a college dance.

 While working for Kelvinator as an engineer in 1936, the senior engineer said to me one day, “You know, Lester, before I met you I thought all Jews and niggers were the same. But now I think the Jews are a little bit better.”

At the Maritime Commission in 1941 I was surprised to meet strong anti-Semitism amongst my fellow engineers. When I first walked into the the Commission, an elderly engineer said, “Come here.” I walked over to him. He asked me if I were a Jew. When I told him, he said, “Well, I hate all Jews.”

When jobs were extremely scarce and I needed work, I was first accepted and then turned down by the Manhattan Project because I was a Jew. I never was sorry about that one.

I’d hear remarks all the time, everywhere, on the streets; I was never away from it. This went on all my life until I gained my freedom and realized that I was responsible for everything that was happening to me. Then it stopped. (pp. 47-49)

Screen Shot 2020-05-23 at 7.47.28 AM

Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer, head of the Manhattan Project, c. 1950

The supersensitivity drops away because your ego drops away, whereas before I was hearing them all the time. If I heard someone coming out with an anti-Semitic remark, or an anti-any-other remark, I had compassion for them. I saw them needing, so I just had a feeling of more love for them because they needed it. The only one they were hurting with their “anti” was themselves; they can’t hurt anyone else with it, unless the other one wants to feel hurt.

“The only real beauty is you yourself”

And once I was on Madison Avenue, or Fifth Avenue—I forget which—where the most beautiful and very best-dressed women of the world go shopping during the daytime. I looked at them looking in windows on those very expensive shops. And I looked at them, and I looked at the mannequin, and I looked at them again, and I looked at the mannequin again. I did it a third time, and I couldn’t see any difference. And I said, “Holy mackerel, and that’s what I thought was beautiful? They’re just mannequins!” They’re interested only in the outer skin of their body: dressing it, pampering it, spending untold sums of money on it, and the only real beauty is they themselves, not the outer skin. So what became beautiful to me was a person of high love, the soul of a person.

Fifth Avenue 1952

And I remember and incident where I was saying with two fellows of a girl I had known, “Gee, isn’t she beautiful!” I could tell there by their looking at me there was something wrong. And I said, “Well, isn’t she?” and they shook their head, “No.” And I looked again, and I says, “Oh, I see what you mean.” And she was, in their eyes, or in physical eyes, a homely girl; but she was quite spiritual. That isn’t the right word—she was high in her capacity to love. And basically that’s what is behind all beauty: love. Can you see it? So my concepts of beauty did a flip-flop. The ones I thought, “Oh, they’re the most; they’re the greatest” turned out to be like mannequins, and others whom I would have thought horribly homely turned out to be beautiful.

I was so at-home anywhere and everywhere, and Dr. Schafer’s classes where he taught—always the finest. Everyone was so well dressed and so neat and so proper, that I had the nerve to come in with a beard and my hair not combed and dirty slacks on. Of course everyone noticed it, but very properly, no one said a thing to me. And I sat there, one-hundred percent as ease, in spite of all of them looking kind of dagger-eyed at me. I did it on purpose to prove to me that I had no reaction, no ego left.

Peace Haven ballroom

Followers of J. B. Schafer at Peace Haven c. 1940


“I only know that which I can do”

I always held a maxim back in my mind that “I only know that which I can do,” which is an excellent check upon oneself. “I only know that which I can do.” And so I would do it, and test it out. And if I did find any reactivity, if I did find anything not up to perfection, I immediately went to work to correct it until it was the ultimate and that particular thing was achieved. I did everything to the extreme limit to be sure I had nothing left on it, no more hangups on any particular thing.

The trip to L.A. was for the purpose of proving what I had discovered and knew, and always with that maxim, “I only know that which I can do.” I believe I went step-by-step from smaller to bigger and bigger things: that’s what I was really doing. That was a big one, to walk out without any money and go to Los Angeles. And so I packed my bag, walked out of the apartment, with absolute full confidence that I was on my way to Los Angeles, with no doubt that it would not happen. And so it did. And it’s not a test: it’s a proving. Test implies doubt, and any doubt would stop it from working. I went out without money because I wanted to prove I could have anything I wanted without money. Well, you don’t need money to—when you demonstrate things you never think of money. You never should think of money, because instead of the thing you will end up with money. But thinking you need money to do things is a doubt.

From a former student:

“The class was full, so I rented this room to just come here and release,” I said.
“What are you missing?” Lester said. “You got me here, you’re right above the conference room, and you have a room in the same hotel they were chasing other graduates away. Somebody up there likes you.”
“And I got it for a great price,” I bragged.
“You know you could have gotten it for free.”
“How’s that?” I asked.
“I used to do that all the time. There’s nothing out there but your thoughts. Your consciousness determines everything, so if you believe it is free, it will be.”

I remember one time when he came out to Los Angeles. He showed me his Southwest Airlines ticket—it had CANCEL written all over it, but he had just used it! He did things like that all the time. (Seretan, 2008)

Really, higher consciousness determines for lower consciousness, that’s why people serve me. It’s—yet it’s true for everyone. Whenever we think, every molecule in the universe moves to fulfill that thought. And I knew I was going into that movie. Most people think negatively, and are creating that for themselves. Most people think with very much limitation and create that for themselves. But I was thinking—I was knowing I was going into that movie, I was so absolutely convinced that it had to happen. But there’s only one mind; there’s only one intelligence, and we are all in it. And so this man’s mind was turned and tuned in my direction.

If everyone were in harmony, there would be no waiting in line for tickets; there would be no one clamoring around a box office trying to get them. When everyone’s in harmony, there are enough seats for everyone, and everyone walks right in without needing a ticket. You don’t even have to pay for it. Nature provides in superabundance when we get in tune with it. There would never be such a thing as shortages. There is unlimited infinite energy available to us, as well as a superabundance of everything we would want to use. That’s when you’re in tune with nature. Really, no effort is needed when you’re in tune with nature. Effort is required when you’re working against nature, when you’re not in tune with it. This world was put here for our use and play. The idea of nature needing to be conquered is a very negative idea. What needs to be conquered is our negative ideas, and then only positive things happen.

Anyone who has the absolute conviction of anything causes that thing to come about. Anyone who has the absolute conviction that he can be a millionaire can be a millionaire. This requires there be no subconscious doubts, because the unconscious doubting would get in the way. When you’re up in tune with the universal mind, which everyone is in, your power of its use, your ability to use it, is greater, really, than others’, and it affects them that way in your direction. It’s a high state of love. You’re swimming in a high sea of giddiness in which everything— And you love everyone; you could even go up and hug and kiss a tree. And that goes over to other people and causes them to want to love you and do things for you.

In this likeness or identity God takes such delight that he pours his whole nature and being into it. His pleasure is as great, to take a simile, as that of a horse, let loose to run over a green heath where the ground is level and smooth, to gallop as a horse will, as fast as he can over the greensward—for this is a horse’s pleasure and expresses his nature. It is so with God. It is his pleasure and rapture to discover identity, because he can always put his whole nature into it—for he is this identity itself. – Meister Eckhart (Blakney, “Distinctions are lost in God,” p. 203) (Walshe, Vol. II, Sermon Fifty Seven)

I struggled to keep the businesses going, but inwardly I had lost interest. And I struggled because I knew that was the right thing to do—you don’t take a going business and walk away from it. I went into it to make money, so I kept struggling. But at the time I was not aware that, subconsciously, I lost interest in it because I was not getting what I wanted. I was seeking happiness. And when I was terribly involved in building up the business, I was so busy, I didn’t have to bear with my own inner thoughts that I could not stand. When the business became successful, there was time on my hands; I wasn’t plagued by the problems of it like when I was building it up.

And there was always a relief when those businesses collapsed, I remember. There was always a relief. You see, at the time I wasn’t aware of it, of this happening. It was was only after realization that I became aware that I was the cause of it collapsing. At the time I thought, “They did it to me.” I blamed the loss of the Hitching Post (three restaurants serving French-dip sandwiches that he started in 1938) on the war and business having dropped off for a period of time. I blamed the loss of the lumber business (a large sawmill and planing mill in New Mexico) on the big operators dropping the price of lumber. But there are ways out of that and I didn’t take them. I wasn’t really wanting to; I wasn’t interested. But I wasn’t aware of the fact at the time.

Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 6.57.29 PM

Exchange Buffet NYC 1920s



The only way to feel love is to love. You can’t turn it on like a faucet. It’s a process of dropping your hate. Hate and love are two opposites of a pole, and the more hate you have, the less love you have. So, to get to love, you’ve got to drop hatred. You can’t love a person more than you do now unless you’ve got no more hate in you.

Use your memories of past events to change your present feelings

When I first knew Virginia (around 1934), she had gotten very sick. And I dutifully visited her and spent a lot hours with her when she was in not too attractive a condition. And she had thrown up on a chair, and I sat down in it. And she was so horrified and apologetic about it, and I very gallantly said, “Oh, that’s nothing at all.” I said, “I don’t mind it one bit.” And I just wiped my pants off and sat down. That was being nice to her to win her over, and I knew it would, and it did. So I went back to this incident, and I saw that at the time I was really very annoyed and very uncomfortable, but I acted as though it were nothing only to win her. And when I saw this selfishness, I resolved, “Uh-uh. This I dump, this I let go of.” And I changed the feeling right there and then of wanting to do this just to get her my way, to one of just feeling love for her. Each time I would see these incidents, I would first recognize that it wasn’t love, and then I would let go of that and I would feel love for the girl or person, which is a nice feeling. You like and approve of that person the way they are; you accept them just as they are. Then I knew I had it. This was good news to me because, like in other things, I was able to carry it to the extreme. I could love people who were opposing me.

Changing a feeling I had in the past can help me now because when I review it and I see it was non-love, I feel love in that incident right now. So I’m converting what was non-love to love at this present moment. When I now review something that was not with a feeling of love, but right now I feel love, I am at this moment increasing my loving. I use those incidents again and again to turn on love and feel it and learn to love. In those former incidents I was trying to get love, and not feeling so good as I could feel right now when I feel love.

“The only limitations I have are the ones that I accept”

One can, if one wants to, become a millionaire. Every person could be a billionaire, or a trillionaire, or a quintillionaire, if that were his consciousness—that this truth that I speak of works. Your inner conviction does it. Your thinking does it. When your unconscious thinking that is negative on a thing is overwhelmed by the conscious thinking to the contrary that you can, then you can. Right now you’re unaware of what you had for breakfast yesterday. But when I mention it to you, you start thinking on it, you start looking for it, and those thoughts come up into consciousness. You remember: I had bacon and eggs, or a rasher of bacon. Before I asked you that question, you were not conscious of the fact that you had a rasher of bacon for breakfast the day before or a week before; but on my asking you that, you brought it from the unconscious into consciousness.

I always had the idea that a draft would give me a cold, and it used to actually give me colds. One day thinking on it while I was sitting in a breeze, enjoying it, I said, “Boy, this is the same thing that I call a draft that gives me colds, and here I’m enjoying the thing and not getting a cold. It was a cool breeze. And I said, “That’s silly, to hold on to that thought that a draft gives me a cold.” And after that, I never got a cold again from the draft. I changed that unconscious thought that drafts give me colds to one that a breeze, a cool breeze, is nice and does not give me a cold. That actually happened to me.

Thoughts are the only things that damn up the infinite being that we are. But they don’t necessarily have to: we can have large thoughts. For instance, “I’m a billionaire,” “I can be a billionaire,” or “I am a billionaire.” “I can fly like a bird.” “I can swim like a fish and run like a deer.” But we’re absolutely convinced in our thinking that we can’t run that fast. So, our thoughts are our limitations, and even a large thought is limited to the largeness of it—it’s still not infinite. You can always have more, can’t you? And more and more and more? And that’s what would happen in your thinking: you would always have more and more and more and more and more. First you won your $100,000, then you want a million. Then you want more millions. Then you want hundreds of millions. Then you want billions. And then hundreds of billions. And today, we have trillionaires. And the trillionaires won’t stop—they’ll try to become quadrillionaires. After they become quadrillionaires, they’ll want to be quintillionaires. After they become quintillionaires, they’ll want to be septillionaires, octillionaires. The thoughts determine the amount of the infinity that manifests for us; so, you drop thoughts of limitation and take on thoughts of less limitation.

28 Subhuti, suppose a Bodhisattva, in the practice of giving, filled as many world-systems with the Seven Precious Treasures as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River. If there is a man with the awareness that all dharmas are void of self, and if he accomplishes their complete extinction, then this is superior, and the merit accumulated by this Bodhisattva surpasses that of the former. The Diamond Sutra

I was so ill when I started; I had one foot in the grave. And when I saw that my thinking was the cause of what was happening to me, I immediately saw my body, from my chin down to my toes, as perfect. And instantly I knew it was perfect—I never even thought of the idea of checking it out. I knew the lesions and adhesions of my intestines due to perforated ulcers were undone. I knew everything within me was in perfect running order, and it was. And as I saw that the source of all intelligence was right behind my mind, that my mind was filtering through bits of it. I allowed more and more of it to come through. And digging for it is wanting to know, “What am I?” and seeing myself revealed to myself more and more with less and less limits on it. I wanted to go all the way on it. And I began to see that the only limitations I have are the ones that I accept.

So, looking for this unlimited being, that I already had an inkling of that I was, I got insights of this tremendous unlimited being that I am. And I’m seeing that, and I right there and then realize, “Wow—I’m not this limited body that I thought I was. And I’m not this mind with its limitations that I thought I was.“ And I undid all body limitation, and almost all mind limitation just by saying, “I am not it.” Finished, done, period, that’s it. It was obvious to me that I wasn’t that body and mind that I had thought I was. I just saw it, that’s all. And I let go of identifying with this body. And when I did that, I saw that my beingness was all beingness, that beingness is like one grand ocean; it’s not chopped up into parts called drops of bodies. It’s all one ocean. Which caused me to identify with every being, every person, and even every atom in this universe. And that’s an experience that’s so tremendous; it’s indescribable. First you see the universe is in you. Then you see the universe as you. Then you know the oneness of this universe. Then you are finished forever with separation and all the hellishness that’s caused only by separation. Then you can no more be fooled by the apparent limitations of the world. You see them as a dream, as an apparency, because you know that your very own beingness has no limits.

And should you choose to express your abilities, you can. However, you don’t, because of your compassion for others, and the fact that they cannot take it. You hold it in the background; you hold it away from them rather than impose upon them. That’s why masters rarely ever show their abilities: they want others to discover that they have all these abilities. Nothing is impossible when you get into that state.

“Who am I who has this body and mind?”

There’s only one mind, and if we’re in tune with it, everyone fits together perfectly; no one has to be told even what to do. When I saw that the mind was mine, that the body was mine, I began a question: “Who am I who has this body and mind?” And what I saw was that I unlimited beingness; that this beingness was the cause of everything, and yet was not subject to whatever it caused or created. And this beingness being unlimited, the only limitation was created by the mind limiting itself, or by my limiting the action of my mind. Beingness is simply existence, is-ness, am-ness; it’s the “I” that I am. It’s the “I-ness” of me. And that part is without limitation.

When you discover this, the first thing you recognize is that there’s no need to be a victim of your environment, to be a victim of nature. That you can consciously create your circumstances to be the way you would like them to be. And from then on, your consciousness is one of, “I have everything I need. Everything is in perfect attunement. Everything is okay. Everything is good.” And because of that consciousness, that becomes your world. Everyone makes his world by his mental conceptions. Everyone sees world in accordance with his ideas and conceptions.

If you don’t like the world out there, change your thinking, and your world will change. Now, of course, your thinking includes your subconscious thinking, the thoughts that are in your mind that you’re not looking at. Any thought that I’m not looking at at this moment is unconscious. The moment I look at it, we call it consciousness, or conscious. So, the unconscious thinking is the stored-up accumulation of all our past thinking that we’re holding in the background, and not looking at it for the moment because we don’t want that. It’s what looks to us like a tremendous piece of work to hold in consciousness everything from the past, and so we store it in the background and we call it unconscious.

The unconscious thoughts are effective whether we look at them or not at the moment. And the only way to handle them, change them, is to make them conscious; and then on a conscious plane we can change them. That’s what I was doing while I was making this tremendous growth. I was freeing myself from all the former concepts of limitation that I had accumulated, until I felt no more limitation; until I had no more—hardly any more thoughts of limitation. If you let go of all of them, you’d disappear, because the body is a limitation. The body would disappear—you wouldn’t disappear. The logs in the dam are the subconscious thoughts, which when they are pulled out, the infinity behind the dam can flow through you.

Lester Levenson: Keys to growth

Five practices to achieve growth

1. You must want freedom more than you want the world.

2. Take all your joy from within by releasing.

3. Make the decision to go free, and then do it.

4. Release directly the fear of dying.

5. From now on, get everything you want by releasing. Be not the doer.

6. Make your behavior that of a master.



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

The Self

Your effort should be for proper identity. Identify with your Self.

The ego

The whole object of the path is to let go of the ego. What remains is your Self.
Growth is transcending your false self, your ego, which is no more than an accumulation of habits.
Whenever there is an emotional reaction, there’s ego.
Whenever there is effort, there’s ego.
If you aren’t making progress it’s because you are holding on to ego. Return to releasing.
No matter how far we have advanced on the path, the ego is always a treacherous companion that can take us off the path.


Happiness is what tells us we are going in the right direction.
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.
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.
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.


Everything that happens can teach us something. There is no event that we can’t learn from.
Adversity helps you grow more quickly, so welcome it.
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.
Every experience that causes pain is a blessing in disguise. Change your wrong thinking and you will come out stronger.


It is necessary to do away with doubts. If any doubts arise, immediately release them, just as you release other feelings.
The moment we decide to be the Self–really decide–it is so!
We should expect to go all the way. Every one of us is born with the ability to do it in this lifetime.
Whatever your expectations are, raise them higher. Expect no less than infinity.
You will move as quickly as you expect to. To move more rapidly, expect it!
Every impossible, no matter how impossible, becomes immediately possible when we are completely released on it. And you know you are completely released when you just don’t give a damn.


Every gain is yours forever.
Every gain is an eternal gain. Every step forward you make now is forever.
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.

Focus only on yourself

Focus only on yourself, never on others.
You can’t help other people any more than you can help yourself; therefore, the best way to help others is to help yourself.
The moment we begin to concern ourselves with what others are doing, we turn away from what we are doing.
Giving advice is the ego playing God.


Knowledge has to be experienced.
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.
Studying the illusion helps make it real. If you want to know the truth, don’t study the opposite.
Don’t try to complicate it; it’s the simplest thing in the world.
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.

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.

* * *


Lester Levenson: The Ultimate Freedom


Why don’t we, who are all infinite beings, who have all the power there is in the universe behind us, know that we are that way? Why don’t you know that you’re infinite? You’ve heard it again and again and again. You’re inherently totally free, perfect, all-glorious, all-everything. You’ve heard it, some of you, for years. Why don’t you see it?

Isn’t it ridiculous? Isn’t it stupid? Why do infinite beings like you come to hear another being talk to you? It is because in the first place you do not believe that you are; you will not accept that you are. You think, “Yes, it sounds nice, but . . .” —there’s always a “but,” “but,” “but,” “but” going on. And this “but” is “butting” you down all the time. If you only wouldn’t “but” it, if you would only accept it, from that moment on, you would put all your effort, all your energy into seeing this terrific being that you are. I say you don’t want it. You tell me you do.

And this is the important point: you don’t want it. And until you face up to this, until you confront it, you can go on forever and ever and a year more saying, “Oh, this is what I want, I’m on the path, I’m seeking freedom.” And you can do this lifetime in and lifetime out forever, until you will actually accept the concept intellectually that, “I am infinite, and therefore it is ridiculous and stupid to live the way people live in this world.”

You happen to be in the most hellish hell there is in the universe, and fortunately so, at the same time. We are living in almost the most limited state possible unto beings anywhere in the universe. We could go down lower—we could become animals, and animals are beings who also eventually discover their limitlessness.

But isn’t it stupidly stupid to live a life with the most extreme of limitations if you believe that your natural state is infinite? This is why I say you don’t really believe that there are no bounds on you, and you prefer to be an extremely limited physical body, to be cherished, to be . . . well, I don’t want to get you women angry with me, but I was going to tell you what you do. You know what you do all the time, and the men are not far behind you—they’re very vain. We put on nice clothes, and we dress ourselves, we scrub the body, and we paint it in the morning—men do these things too—and we put the less-liked part of it, and we take it off to work. Why? So you can maintain that extremely limited state of needing food and clothing in order to survive.


Working is only a concept of limitation—“I must work in order to live.” If we had the conviction that “I must sleep eight hours a day in order to live and survive,” that’s the way it would be. You would just sleep and everything would come your way. Because whether you like it or not, you’re unlimited beings; whatever the mind holds becomes so. The mind is only a creator. The only creator in the universe is you. You think, things happen. And you’re “happening” everything that you’re meeting with every day. You have established this extremely limited state of beingness called a physical body, and you’re holding on to it for dear life.

I’m trying to point out to you that you really don’t want to be this unlimited being. You really don’t want to be totally free. You want to have this limitation, and you want the limitation to be nice, delightful, entertaining. And it just can’t be. And you struggle your entire life trying to make it so, and then you die, and then you have a vacation on the other side, where you’re far better able to think and immediately have things happen. And then you come back into a physical body, and you keep working through this physical body until you are able to free yourself from the physical body while you are in the physical body. You can never get free of it anywhere else but from within it.

So the thing to do is to recognize how much you don’t want this state of freedom. It’s the first thing you must do—you’ve got to confront it. Because if you really wanted it, it would take you weeks, maybe months, to become totally free, to become omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. So, I’ve answered the question. The reason why you don’t get it is that you don’t want it. All right, now you’re going to say to me, “But I do want it.” And I’ll say, “Yes, you tell me that but you don’t show me that.” You say you want to be totally free; you don’t want to be this limited vehicle, and the next moment procede to be this limited vehicle—the next moment and every moment. It’s very rare that you don’t think, “I am this body.” And being this body confines you to it. Change the temperature 40 degrees, it dies. Give it a chemical called a poison, it dies. Don’t give it oxygen, it dies. Why do we want to be this terribly limited thing? You’ve gotta confront these things before you’ll ever let go of it.

Are there any questions on this point? I think it’s a very powerful point. If you will get to see what I’m presenting to you, it will only be a matter of weeks or months before you can, and will be, what you really are: totally free, limitless.

Question: Isn’t it fear, fear of the unknown that holds us? Or is it a feeling that we don’t deserve it? An old childish feeling that we don’t deserve this?

Okay, asking me, I would say it’s a conviction that I’m a body that does it. And therefore if I am a body, anything can hurt it, and therefore I am very fearful. Somebody might hit me with a car, or I might eat the wrong food, or a little cool breeze might come on me and do away with me. It’s the conviction that you’re the body that makes you fearful.

Now, Beingness has no form, no action. It’s static; it’s changeless. And yet this is the thing you’re holding on to when you say “survival”: it’s the “I” continuing. That Beingness is the infinity. But when it tries to be a limited vehicle, and keeps its attention on the limited vehicle, it thinks it’s that limited vehicle all the time. And this is what we’re doing. We’re looking at this body every moment, saying that this body is “I”. It’s very simple. And what I’m suggesting is, let it go and concentrate on discovering your Self. If you would put your attention only on your Self, you would very quickly discover it. Weeks, months, that’s all. Anyone can do it. And the reason why we don’t do it is because we don’t believe it, we don’t accept it; we hear it and we say, “Yeah, yeah,” and the next moment we go all-out in being a very limited vehicle called the body.

To help you not fear so much, I can tell you that you don’t lose the body after realization. Christ had a body—Jesus walked around. He had full realization—in fact he had it before he was born. When you get realization, you don’t lose the body. You lose your concepts of limitation of being only a body. In place of it you first see that you are every body, then you see that you are every thing, then every atom, and then in the ultimate you see that you are all Beingness, and that all energy and matter was an illusion, a fiction that you created and set up. And after that you look at your own body the same way you look at other bodies—objectively. And the body can never again disturb you. It can never again disturb the deep, wonderful, profound peace that you are

So you don’t disappear upon realizing who and what you are. You don’t lose a body; first you gain every body in the universe. So I’m trying to bait you now—since you love the body so much, be a million bodies. And when you are a million bodies you are close to seeing your ultimate state of pure Beingness. But I hope I’m leaving you with a provocation. I’m trying to provoke you into looking at yourself and recognizing that you really don’t want this infinite being that you are, that you really want to play as though you are a limited body. And therefore, you’re not quickly discovering who and what you are.

If there are any questions I’d be very happy to help you if I can.

Question: How did you arrive at the fact that we have to gain realization in the body? Why can’t we just die and be realized?

Because as long as you are a body, you have very strong convictions that you are a body, and you’re holding it in your mind, and you’ll always be a body again and again and again, until you let go of the desire to be a body. So, it’s while you are in the physical body that you have to let go of all desire to be a physical body. Now, that word “desire” is a very powerful word. The only reason why we have bodies is because we desire them. The only reason why we are limited in any way is because we desire limitations. Become desireless and you are unlimited.

Question: Is it all that we can conceive? Do we conceive we have to have a body because we always had one, and so it goes on and on?

It’s a matter of choice. Whether you face it or not, you’ve chosen to be a body. If you will dig within you, you will discover this.

The real culprit is the thing called the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is a storage closet of thoughts. We create thoughts, we put them back in the subconscious, and then we act as though they are not there. Every subconscious thought is just as active as any conscious thought is. But we have created this mechanism of subconscious thinking. And the subconscious thoughts are ony the conscious thoughts that we’re not looking at at this moment. And right now there are millions of thoughts going on in your mind. You bring to consciousness a few of them at a time, but all those millions back there are active. And this is the greatest difficulty. It was a very handy mechanism in the beginning—it was an automatic pilot. When we became more and more involved with thoughts, we put them on automatic an stopped looking at them. And we are now running on automatic, called the subconscious mind. And this is your greatest difficulty. If you could make the subconscious conscious right now, you would be realized, because you would see all this limitation that you set in motion in the past that is now continuing invisible to you all. And by making it visible, naturally you’re going to drop all the limitation.

Keep your attention focused on you. If you would do this only for weeks or months, you would get full realization. I say “only,” which means not stopping it and looking at, “I am a body with problems.” It would be very quick.

Question: Are there degrees of Self-realization?

No. There are degrees of letting go of self-imposed limitations. You see, you’re Self-realized here and now, holding on to concepts of “I am not realized.” So, there is no growth into the unlimited state: that is. here is an apparent growth of letting go of the self-imposed limitations.

You’ll never ever be satisfied living life in the world—or in any other world, or in the heavens. There are heavens on top of heavens on top of the heavens. We happen to be in the hell-realm of the heavens. And you’ll never ever be satisfied until you go to the ultimate. Until you recognize it.

Question: How can we know we’re realized when we are?

By being it you’ll know it. When you’re realized, you see no otherness: there is only “I all alone.” It’s a point of view that you will have that will be just that way, even though that apparency of a body will be moving around on an apparent earth, talking to apparent other bodies. But you’ll know it as an apparency, as an illusion. And you will see only oneness. But, again, it has to be experienced. You can experience Beingness.

Question: Doesn’t it get boring after awhile?

No, it’s what everyone wants more than anything else in the world. It is the most satisfying; it’s the greatest satiation possible. You’re looking for it all the time and you’re asking me, “Will it be boring”—you’re seeking it in everything you do. Your every act is seeking this. You’d be surprised how simple everything is that seems to be complicated, once you see the truth. If we wanted the ultimate truth as much as we want to be a body, we’d have it in a matter of days. That’s how simple it is.

Lester Levenson: Identify with what you really are

. . . in a way that will help you identify better with that which you really are, and with lot of helpful hints on how to identify with the real you: the you that never, ever changes; the you that is whole, complete, perfect; the you that you’re trying to get to in everything you’re doing; the you that you’re looking for where it isn’t—externally.

One reason why I say it’s easy is because you’re trying to find you. How difficult is that? Also, at every moment you’re experiencing the real you, plus at every moment you’re looking away from it. But you can’t help but experience the real you: when you say “I” that’s it. “I am.” It’s the Beingness that you are that is you.

How many of you expect to have these carcasses a thousand years from now? A hundred years from now? Even fifty years from now? We have one person. Tell us all about it.

“Well, I’ll be around your age.”

You can stay eighteen all your life if you want to.

“Okay, I’ll change it.”

And if you really love the body that much, you would do it—you would stay eighteen all your life.

“I’m twenty-five.”

But we should look toward the part that we really are, bring it out, identify with it, make it part of our conscious living. “I am I.” Get the sense of only “I, I, I, I.” “I am.” “I am what I am.” Are you? You say yes. Okay, that’s it. Just be that only, and you’re in the ultimate state that you are striving for all the time with misery. Misery is moving away from that state. The only happiness there is, is being, in your Beingness. What you’ve heard me say is that you’re just quieting the mind by satisfying the desire, and when the mind is quiet, you’re just being, and that’s the happiness you feel. That’s the only happiness there is. How many have already discovered that? That there’s only one single happiness, that’s when you’re being your Beingness? Okay, that’s a big assist because it should alleviate, do away with all that effort, looking for it out there in a million different directions. Now, that doesn’t stop you from doing what you’re doing out there—it doesn’t matter what you do. What matters is your attitude toward it, your understanding of it. But it sure makes life easier when you identify with your Beingness.

Try to get yourself placed on the scale of where you are. It’s good to see yourself objectively, which you’re probably discovering with the TV. There’s a double benefit you get from the skits. One is that when you start, all your garbage, your emotions come up for releasing. And then when you watch it, it’s entirely different, isn’t it, when you watch it? Because the first part is very subjective: it’s me with all my pet garbage. And it’s not what it looks like objectively. We don’t see ourselves the way we really are, so when we come back and look at, most of us want to hide, don’t we? “That’s not me—I didn’t do that.” But you see yourself objectively, it helps you move into the points of garbage you are very much avoiding. So when you identify where you are, and you see it objectively, you can say, “Boy, I’m on the first step” or “I’m on the tenth step. I’ve got to move.”

So, identifying is part of seeing yourself objectively. And there are three parts that you think you are. [chart]





You are. That’s your Beingness; that’s the real part of you, which sets up your mind and then develops all of these programs over the ages. And the programs motivate the thinking. The programs are your feelings. I don’t whether any part of the world of psychology and psychiatry today accepts feelings as programs. They’re so blinded as to what they are, I think they accept them as being natural and right. Just adjust them a little bit so that things get a little better. But feelings are simply programs, subconscious automated programs of how we react to the external world. And every one of them has been put in as a pro-survival program, in order to keep the body surviving. How many of you have seen that, that all these feelings are survival programs? And that’s great. You get to see how silly it is when you’re trying to survive a situation that you are eternal in. And that’s what you’re doing. You’ve got no choice: you’re eternal. And all this struggle trying to survive. But wherein is the error? What are you trying to survive? The carcass. As I used to say, it you’re driving around in a car, it’s your case: it’s got you closed in there. So has this “car-case.”

So, in your Beingness you create your mind and start programming everything, and you think you are the body, and you think the world is external to you—after you have created it. You let go of remembering that you created this whole thing; it’s all created here in your mind. Change the picture mentally and it instantly changes out there—called the miracle. I believe most of you have experienced instantaneous changes out there. How many have experienced . . . what am I talking for, you know it! (laughter)

But there’s nothing out there but the sum-total thinkingness, most of which is subconscious, and therein lies the problem. Subconscious means simply that we do not want to look at it. The mind is a tremendous mystery to the world because they don’t understand what it is. They can’t see the simplicity of it. It’s the sum-total of all of your feelings and thoughts, that’s all. How simple it is; it’s a collection of your feelings and thoughts. And everything you experience is via the mind. You go unconscious, the mind’s out of the way, there’s no experiencing.

So, try to identify where you are. Most of the time, are you identifying with your body and the world? The answer is yes—I wouldn’t let you answer that one. (laughter) But you can make it otherwise. You continue in what you are doing, but shift your identity from being the body, to being. Identify with your Beingness, and you just sit back and you watch the world go by. You get into the state of witnessing. You don’t even feel yourself moving, because you cannot—you’re omnipresent. When you identify with your Beingness, you discover that you’re everywhere present in the entire universe. And should you choose you can take a look anywhere in the universe without moving, because you’re there. You don’t even have to do astral travel. You’re omnipresent. Astral travel is in the mind: astral body and mind are almost one and the same thing.

So, identify where you are. Make a decision to cut the journey short—go free. Why be in agony when you can be free? So, the real you is the Beingness. The ego-you is two and three: your mind and your body. And the three states that you identify with are Beingness, Doingness and Havingness.


#2 and #3 is the Ego-You


1. Being is your Beingness Only

2. Doing is your position in the world

3. Having is your possessions

And with this you can relate to the chart of emotions. After the apathy, grief, fear . . . All right, down in Havingness only. When you’re down there, you think that your welfare depends on how much you can have, and you spend all your time trying to make and have. When you move up into lust, anger, pride, courageousness, you move into a Doingness. Instead of thinking that your welfare lies in having, you feel you gotta be a doer. Of course, that’s an advanced state; only five percent of us are doers. Ninety-five percent of us are wanting to have. And we’re down so low, we put ourselves in the state of being a slave: we must have a job, someone must tell us what to do and give us the food that we eat and the money to get our lodgings. The only reason why people work in jobs is that we have a slave consciousness; we’re down in Havingness. Apathy, grief and fear: that’s where most people are riding the majority of the time. Move up into courageousness, pride, anger and lust. Then you get to be a doer, which is a much freer state than being a slave.

Now, when you get into the state of “I can do,” you’ve got enough wish and will to move to the top. Because you discover that when you’re just quiet and being, that’s the nicest thing there is. And with the Doingness energy, you’ll work harder to drop the remaining limitations, the AGFLAP (apathy, grief, fear, lust, anger, pride), so that you can remain and just be all the time. Now, that sense of Beingness is not related to the world: it’s related to how you look at the world. You watch the world go by. You watch yourself. You watch your own body moving around like you now watch other bodies. You’ll see your body objective to you like you see other bodies objective to you.

So, try to move up to constantly identifying with your Beingness. Hold “I am” or “I, I, I, I” only. “I am my Beingness.” “I am.” “I am my am-ness.” And then when you get to be a doer, when you get to be the doer, then try to see that you’re not the doer, that all that is objective to you. Try to take the attitude, “I am not the doer.” Now what happens there is you let go of the ego-sense of doing, and shift into allowing the higher power, or whatever you call it, to do it. In religion they say, “Let go and let God.” When you let go of your ego-sense you automatically move into your Beingness. And that takes care of everything with no effort. And your life becomes totally effortless.

And start from taking all your happiness from you. Recognize that every joy you have is that nice quiet place of just being, where your desires are out of the way. Even though you’re taking pleasure from the world, try to recognize that that pleasure is you being you: your mind is quiet.

1. Identify with everyone as being you

2. Identify with every atom as being you

3. Real knowing means Being

Now, on the way, we should identify with everyone as being us. See everyone as you. And that’s what happens when you see that you are Beingness, and that your Beingness is all Beingness, so then it includes everyone. So you see other people as you. Then try to identify with everything out there, every atom, as you, because it’s your making. And when you identify with it, you’ll get to see that you created everything you’re experiencing. It’s all in your mind, all that you’re experiencing. It’s all in your creative mechanism. The mind is only creative—it creates whatever thoughts we hold in mind.

And in the end, knowing means being. You can’t get to know yourself. That’s two things, “I” knowing “myself.” I am myself. So the ultimate knowing drops away into being. All knowledge drops away into being. You let go of all the accumulation that you spent lifetimes accumulating in the way of knowledge, because it’s all lesser knowledge than omniscience. It’s all limited knowledge, limited by the mind. And you let it go, and you discover your omniscience, your all-knowingness, after which you don’t have to work hard thinking. There’s no more thinking: you’re knowing. And in knowingness there’s no thinkingness.

1. See nothing out there but your sum-total thinkingness

2. There is in actuality nothing out there but your Beingness

3. No objectivity, only subjectivity

So, see nothing out there but your sum-total thinkingness. By the way, I think it would be good if you would write this down, to be used in the future as a reminder, as a refresher. Write it down; you can use this in the future. This is stuff I believe you don’t read in books. Or do you read it in books? They’ll give it to you in one sentence, but not broken down this way. So, it’s good to have it where you can keep looking at it so you become It, with a capital I.

This (pointing at number one above) is taking responsibility for everything that happens to you. What did I do to cause this awful thing? Develop that habit, and your initiating thoughts will start coming up and you’ll release them. So that negative happenings out there will stop. The less negative happenings, the more positive happenings, the quieter you life is, the easier it is to go on. If you’re constantly being plagued by death facing you it’s difficult to release. But if your life is easy, you’re in a better place to release. You’re not so fearful of your programs anymore. You’ll be able to allow up the bottom program of the fear of dying, the fear of living, and you’ll release it. And when you continue this, see nothing but your sum-total thinkingness, then you discover there is in actuality nothing out there but my Beingness. Which reminds me of Vivakananda. He said when you get to the end of the line, you discover that there never was anything but “I all alone.”
I, my Beingness, is the totality of all Beingness, and that’s the only real thing there is. Your Beingness never ever changes. Your Beingness is eternal. And because it never changes, it’s the only truth. If something changes, then it was not true the moment before. For a thing to be true it has to remain as it is. And the only thing you will ever experience that does not change is your Beingness, which you are right now. Identify and move toward your Beingness.

And then you reach the point where you begin to see no objectivity. Nothing is apart from me. There’s nothing out there but my sum-total thinkingness. “You are me.” “Every atom in the universe is me” is what you will see as you stay, as you identify with your Beingness. Here we’re trying to scratch for little pieces of it, and the totality of it is ours—it’s our creation.

1. Totally quiet the mind

2. Be intuitive only

3. Do not identify with your body and mind


So we work and work, and release and release, until there are no thoughts. Now every one of you experiences moments when there are no thoughts. And it’s a tremendous state. But as long as there’s a piece of garbage left, it comes into play and pulls you away from that nice quiet place. And some of us think it’s the noise out there that’s real, not the Beingness, and we move away from rather than try to stay in the state of Beingness. And when you get there, you’ll be intuitive only. You’ll operate in the world without thinking. You’ll be offensive to no one. You’ll have answers for everyone. You can talk to people on their subject and help them. And as you’re doing it, you’re watching your body talking and answering their questions, and you’re listening to it just like they are. Sometimes you say, “Wow, that sounds good.”

So, do not identify with your body and mind. What’s left? Your Beingness, your is-ness, your are-ness, your am-ness, your existence-ness. That’s the part of you that’s real, whole, complete, perfect, eternal. That’s the part of you you’re struggling to get to in everything you’re doing. You’ll never rest until you get there.

Summed up: Have no attachments and no aversions, and you’ll have everything. You’ll have the all. The universe will be yours. Why? It’s your universe—you created it. It was yours in the first place. And this is a little bait. Because you are wanting so many things, I’m telling you that you can have a piece of real estate, you can have the whole world, you can have all the other worlds, you can have the omniverse—if you release. Because it’s your creation. You could duplicate it and make two omniverses. But of course, when you get there, why do you want to carry that load on your back? You don’t. You let it be. And you just remain, identifying with your Beingness, which is the greatest thing there is, barring none.


1. Imperturbability

2. Desirelessness

3. Effortlessness

4. Actionlessness

5. Witnessing

Here are words indicating the free state. This can help you in setting your goals. The word I like best is imperturbability: the place where nothing can ever disturb you again, the place no person can disturb you. You just look at the other one and you allow the other one to be and want what the other one wants. Even if they want to kill you, how can they disturb you? You’re eternal. The greatest disturber of everything, the cause of all turbulence in the mind, perturbations, masturbations, everything, is desire. It just spins us into this tremendous swirl of what we’re into. Aim for desirelessness; aim to release all of your desires. Try to move towards less and less effort. Now, of course you’ve got to move up out of the havingness state into the doingness state before you try to make things effortless. But when you let go and identify with your Beingness, things become effortless. And as most of you have heard me say, every impossible, no matter how impossible, becomes immediately possible when we become completely released on it. And you know you are completely released when you just don’t give a hoot.

(Asked to repeat)

Every impossible, no matter how impossible, becomes immediately possible when we are completely released on it. And you know you are completely released when you just don’t give a hoot. [don’t give a damn, a fig]

The sense of actionlessness, of not being the doer—work toward that. And toward witnessing everything that’s happening. Sit back and be the witness of it. But when you reach the top, all these things are in place; that’s the way you will be. Those are the five words that I like best for the top state. You might have some other words you could add to it.


And so to close on a sense of humor, which most of you have seen, apathy, grief, fear, lust, anger, pride; [and on the other side] courageousness, acceptance and peace. We must get rid of the AGFLAP in order to CAP it. And coming from this side, CAP spells PAC. And this is the Pac-Man. The CAP is the Pac-Man that gobbles up the AGFLAP. But you need to get up here to gobble that up completely. It’s from the high points that you reach down into the suppressed fear of dying, allow it up so you can let it out.

Okay, that’s the end of my talk for today. Be your Self—you’ve got no choice. No matter how much you try otherwise, you’ll always end up eventually just being your Self only. So why not now? Why take time?


Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara (788-820)

(See Pranayama and Raja Yoga)

100. Now, for the attainment of the aforesaid (knowledge), I shall expound the fifteen steps by the help of which one should practice profound meditation at all times.

101. The Atman that is absolute existence and knowledge cannot be realized without constant practice; therefore one seeking after knowledge should long meditate upon Brahman for the attainment of the desired goal.

102-103. The steps, in order, are described as follows: the control of the senses, the control of the mind, renunciation, silence, space, time, posture, the restraining root (Mulabandha), the equipoise of the body, the firmness of vision, the control of the vital forces, the withdrawal of the mind, concentration, self-contemplation and complete absorption.

104. The restraint of all the senses by means of such knowledge as “All this is Brahman” is rightly called Yama, which should be practiced again and again.

105. The continuous flow of only one kind of thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts is called Niyama, which is verily the supreme bliss and is regularly practiced by the wise.

106. The abandonment of the illusory universe by perceiving it as the all-conscious Atman is the real renunciation honored by the great, since it is of the nature of immediate liberation.

107. The wise should always be one with that silence from which words, together with the mind, turn back without reaching it, but which is attainable by the Yogins.

108-109. Who can describe That from which words turn away? Or if the phenomenal world were to be described, even that is beyond words. This, to give an alternate definition, may also be called “silence known among the sages as present from the beginning.” The observance of silence by restraining speech, on the other hand, is ordained by the teachers of Brahman for the ignorant.

110. That oneness is known as “space,” wherein the universe does not exist in the beginning, end or middle, but whereby the universe is pervaded at all times.

111. The non-dual that is bliss indivisible is denoted by the word “time,” since it brings into existence, in the twinkling of an eye, all beings from Brahman downwards.

112. One should know as true posture (Asana) that in which the meditation on Brahman flows spontaneously and unceasingly, and not any other that destroys one’s happiness.1

113. That which is known as the origin of all beings and the support of the whole universe, which is immutable, and in which the enlightened are completely merged, that alone is known as Siddhasana (eternal Brahman).

114. That which is the root of all existence, and on which the restraint of the mind is based, is called the restraining root (Mulabandha), which should always be adopted since it is fit for Raja-yogins.

115. Absorption in the uniform and ever-balanced Brahman brings about true balance and equipoise of the limbs and body (Dehasamya). Without this, mere straightening and stretching of the body like a dried-up tree is no equipoise at all.2

116. Converting the ordinary view into one of knowledge, one should view the world as Brahman itself. That is the noblest view; it is not to focus the eyes on the spot where the nose begins.3

117. Or, one should direct one’s vision to That alone, where all distinction of seer, sight, and that which is seen ceases; do not direct it to the spot where the nose begins.

118. The restraint of all changing states of the mind by regarding all mental states, like the Citta (the mind), as Brahman alone, is called Pranayama.4

119-120. The negation of the phenomenal world is known as Rechaka (breathing out); the thought, “I am verily Brahman,” is called Puraka (breathing in); and the holding of that thought thereafter is called Kumbhaka (holding the breath). This is the real course of Pranayama for the enlightened, whereas the ignorant only torture the nose (by holding the breath).

121. The absorption of the mind in the Supreme Consciousness by realizing Atman in all objects is known as Pratyahara (withdrawal of the mind), which should be practiced by the seekers after liberation.

122. The steadiness of the mind through realization of Brahman wherever the mind goes is known as the supreme Dharana (concentration).

123. Remaining independent of everything as a result of the unassailable thought, “I am verily Brahman,” is known by the word Dhyana (meditation), and is productive of supreme bliss.

124. The complete forgetting of all thought by first making it immutable and then identifying it with Brahman is called Samadhi, known also as Prajna.

125. The aspirant should carefully practice this (meditation) that reveals his natural bliss until, being under his full control, it arises spontaneously in an instant whenever called into action.

126. Then he, the best among Yogis for having attained perfection, becomes free from all practices. The real nature of such a man never becomes an object of the mind or speech.

127-128. While practicing Samadhi there appear unavoidably many obstacles, such as lack of inquiry, idleness, desire for sense-pleasure, sleep, dullness, distraction, tasting of joy, and the sense of blankness. One desiring the knowledge of Brahman should slowly get rid of these many obstacles.

129. While thinking of an object the mind identifies itself with that, and while thinking of a void it becomes blank, whereas by thinking of Brahman it attains to perfection. Therefore one should constantly think of (Brahman to attain to) perfection.

130. Those who give up this supremely purifying thought of Brahman live in vain and are on the same level with beasts.

131. Blessed indeed are those virtuous persons who at first have this consciousness of Brahman and then develop it more and more. They are respected everywhere.

132. Only those in whom this consciousness, being ever present, grows into maturity attain to the state of ever-present Brahman, and not others who merely deal with words.

133. Also, those persons who are only clever in talking about Brahman but have no realization, who are very much attached to worldly pleasures, are born and die again and again in consequence of their ignorance.

134. The aspirants after Brahman should not remain a single moment without the thought of Brahman.

135. The nature of the cause inheres in the effect and not vice versa; so through reasoning it is found that in the absence of the effect, the cause as such also disappears.

136. Then that pure Reality which is beyond speech alone remains.

137. In this way alone there arises in the pure-minded a state of awareness, which is afterwards merged into Brahman.

138. One should first look for the cause by the negative method (emptiness) and then find it by the positive method (dharmas), as ever inherent in the effect.

139. One should verily see the cause in the effect, and then dismiss the effect altogether. What then remains, the sage himself becomes.

140. A person who meditates upon a thing with great assiduity and firm conviction becomes that very thing.

141. The wise should always think with great care of the invisible, the visible and everything else as his own Self, which is Consciousness itself.

142. Having reduced the visible to the invisible, the wise one should think of the universe as one with Brahman. Thus alone will he abide in eternal felicity with mind full of consciousness and bliss.


1. (112) In this section Shankara redefines the practices of Asana and Pranayama (postures and breath suppression) so that the focus is on the cultivation of the mind, not on the body.

2. (115) See above.

3. (116) Changing the practice of focusing one’s eyes on the spot in-between the eyebrows to viewing the world as Brahman.

4. (118) Redefining practices aimed at breath suppression, Pranayama, to mean the suppression of changing mental states.


Lester Levenson: Letting go of ego

Letting go of ego, Part 1

Recorded on May 19, 1966

I guess the best way to start is with an overall picture of our direction, in such a way that it embraces those who have been here for some time and those who are here for the first time. I think all the questions that the philosophers ask and try to get the answer to, that the psychologists ask, but even the field of medicine asks, and the world of religion, are really asking the very same thing, approaching it from different angles. Everyone is seeking the answers. And if we sift out what is it that we’re all seeking, we put different names to it. Some people call it spiritual, some truth, some philosophy, wisdom, understanding. But the basic thing that everyone is seeking is very simple: it’s happiness. But it’s the ultimate happiness. It’s nothing mystical and nothing far and nothing complex. Every being is seeking pure and simple happiness so that there is no more sorrow.

So, the word I like best for our path is “the ultimate happiness.” The ultimate happiness, of course, is the ultimate truth of our beingness, the truth of the universe. And it turns out that there is only one ultimate truth. So, all of us are seeking this continuous happiness with never a taint of sorrow. Most people in the world, of course, are making the error of seeking it where it is not, and therefore not attaining it. And becoming extremely frustrated, because the more they try to get it where they think it is, the more they discover that it isn’t there. In place of the happiness, they’re finding more and more discontent, more and more misery. We never had so much materially as we have now, and I don’t think we’ve ever been so unhappy—at least in the past fifty years we haven’t—as we are today.

So, in seeking this ultimate happiness, one most important thing is necessary, and that is to have pointed out to us what this happiness is and how to get it. Now, as I said, it’s very simple. Truth, happiness, God, is simple. If it’s not simple, it’s not godly, it’s not truth, it’s not happiness—it’s an artificial complexity set up by man’s ignorance. So, again I say, this whole direction we’re in is very simple.

Now the number-one thing preventing us from seeing what this ultimate happiness is, is our sense of egoity. So, opposed to this ultimate happiness, and the only thing stopping us from having this constant happiness with no sorrow, is the sense of separation: I am an individual separate from the all. Once we take on the sense of separation we seem to develop it more and more, and we keep pulling away from that ultimate happiness, the ultimate state, which in the beginning we were all in. And more and more we begin to believe that we are a limited mind, a limited body—so limited that we need a thing called oxygen to survive, or food, and so forth and so on.

This ultimate happiness that is the goal is something that never, ever really leaves us: it’s right within us all the time. But we cover it over with concepts of limitation, of being separate. And the more we do it, the more concepts we build up, until we get to the point where we are today—extremely overloaded with concepts of limitations.

Now this ultimate joy that we are seeking is our natural state; it’s the natural state of all mankind. To get this ultimate happiness which is our natural state, all we need to do is to let go of the obstructions that we have set in the way of seeing what this happiness is. We have built up endless concepts of limitation over this unlimited being that we are naturally.

So, the simplicity of the direction is this: we are that natural unlimited being, possessing right now that unlimited joy, but covering it over with a sense of limitation called the ego. We need to rediscover what I just said. We need to rediscover it. It’s there. It’s there all the time. Well, how do we rediscover it? First we need someone to tell us that the direction is this way; someone must point out the direction. Secondly, we must look in that direction, and we must discover it for ourselves. No one can give it to us: we must see it. We must see it through our own mind’s eye. And when we do, we recognize that which we always were: an unlimited being with unlimited joy.

Now, the direction must be inwardly: it is not outwardly. Everything out there, we discover, is something that we have dreamed up, and then put a tag on it as being real. This world, this universe, we have dreamed it; and through accepting this dream for so long we think it’s real. So what we need to do is to turn our attention inwardly, to re-examine, rediscover what is the truth of everything. And as we do that we begin to see the falsity or the illusion of the world. And by getting concentrated in the inward direction, we see this infinite being that we are.

So, the path resolves itself into two things: one, seeing this infinite being that we are, and two, seeing the limitations we have superimposed over it and letting go of them.

Letting go of ego, Part 2

So,  to repeat what I said, to attain this unlimited happiness, the direction is pointed out to us. We must take it by going inwardly and rediscovering this wonderful, unlimited, ever-joyful being that we are.

The time it takes us to do this is determined by one thing only: the intensity of our desire for it. If we are convinced that our joys lie in the world, we will never, ever attain this happiness; we will always be with much misery. But when we accept, and then begin to prove, that the joys are just our natural state, are not attached to anything out there, then our life begins to become more joyful, and we can, with more conviction, take the right direction. It seems that at first the thing that drives us in this direction is the thing called misery. We go so far in the wrong direction that we just can’t stand it anymore, and because of the misery we are driven to seeking happiness elsewhere than in the world. When we begin to receive the fruits of our search and we begin to feel these joys that we have never experienced before, then the mere joy of the path is what will give us the intensity of the drive in the right direction.

We also discover that this path cannot be a part-time thing if we really want to make it. We have spent so many centuries, so much time, going in the wrong direction that it takes a superhuman effort now to redirect us into the right direction.

So, again, the whole thing is simple. We are that infinite unlimited joy we are seeking. We are that God that we are seeking. We must turn within and discover that. When we do, we know it and we hold on to it. Then we go through the process of continuing the elimination of all the concepts of limitation, all the ego-concepts, until we are fully established in that high exalted state of beingness.

I believe the only reason why I should be here is to help, that if I can’t help, there’s no reason for my being here. I believe every one of us has been with the path for quite some time. I wouldn’t like to be in the position where I’m talking about the subject. Talking about the subject is an obstacle on the path. What should happen here is that each one moves forward, and very definitely moves ahead. If that doesn’t happen, I see no reason for my being here, because we can all read. Almost everything I’ll say you can read it in books found somewhere. There’s nothing new on the subject of truth. It’s eternal; it always was, it always will be the same. So the thing that’s different—or I hope is different—is that there is something effected here, that something will happen to give us more realization than we had before we came here.

I believe the general approach to the subject that I have is called advaita, or in English, non-duality, which can also be translated as oneness. And that there’s only one singular method of growth: that that one method of growth is letting go of our ego. Now, egoity is the sense of separation: I am an individual. And once I become an individual I am separate from the whole, or the all. This sense of egoity is what starts all our trouble, all our delusion. So we must get back to the place where we again see that we are the only One, with a capital ‘O’. In truth there’s no such thing as growing into full realization. And that is because we are now, we always have been, we always will be that infinite being called God or the Self. That’s one thing we cannot get away from: we are That. “I am what I am.” That’s the changeless part of us. We cover that over with a sense of being a separate individual.

So, growth consists only of letting go of our ego. And I hope that through these meetings we do that more—more so than we have done before. We are that infinite being here and now. We are blinding ourselves to it by saying, “I, the infinite being, am a limited ego”; “I, the infinite being, am separate from the infinity.” We must change those concepts, let go of them. I hope to bring out ways and means of sensing the ego operating in us, ways and means that we can use to point out to ourselves when we are being ego-motivated. And each and every time that we are, if we let go of it, we are letting go of a bit of ego. If we keep this going from here until the end, we eventually get to the place where there is no more ego left. And where the ego is not, there God is. There the infinite Self is left in its pure, pristine beingness. So all that we do is remove the cover.

If we lose our sense of egoity in the state we are in now, we save ourselves millions of years of growing on the higher planes. To be in a higher astral realm, or a causal realm, or the highest of realms, we still need a sense of separation, a sense of egoity. We need a sense of a higher body. And one of the greatest, most wonderful things about the state we are in now is that it allows us to go all the way back home, right to the very top. Even the gods, the angels, cannot do what we can do. We can go all the way by completely losing the sense of being an ego.

Letting go of ego, Part 3

I try to bring out the very highest of teachings; I like to start from the top. If we ever expect to know the truth, we must start with the truth and reason from there. We can’t get to the truth from the falsity, the lie, the reality of the world as most people see it. If we try to grow from this world up to the truth, it just won’t work, because we’re starting with the lie and trying to reason from there. We must start reasoning with the truth. Now the truth is the absolute One, the changeless. That which never changes is true. If it changes, it wasn’t true in the first place—it changed. So we define truth as that which never changes. So, if we reason, we should start with the one infinity, as being the all, and reason from there.

Now, as we go on, I believe the various methods of seeing our ego will come out. And the general method we have used has not been my talking as much as my answering questions. And if I answer a question I always try to answer by letting the answer come from within.

Neither be you called teachers (καθηγηται); for the One is your teacher, even of the Annointed One. (Matthew 23: 8-10)

And if I do that it will bring out the ego behind the questioner. Or, sometimes we’ll put the question right into the Self. And very often the answer is put in such a way as to provoke thinking rather than answer the question. Unfortunately we all know that questions can’t really be answered for us, that each one must answer the question himself or herself. So my method of answering questions very often might seem kind of odd, in that it’s not direct: it’s roundabout. Or it’s provoking. But the purpose is to make obvious to the one asking the ego-motivation, or the ego, so that he may see it, and if he chooses, let go of it.

When I come in, I sit down, I just know, I have a conviction, that “Thou art That.” And to the degree that I have this conviction, to that degree I help you to be in that mood, in that state. Now when we are in that state, we should recognize it. We should get to know that that is a very high state. And we shouldn’t try to relate that to our ego-world—it just doesn’t relate to it. It’s a calmness, it’s a peace, it’s a very delightful state, and there’s no sense of doing-ness, of having-ness when we are in that state. It’s just beingness. But that is the experiencing that we need to establish more and more until that is full and complete and only. And that’s what’s called full realization.

Another point about our teaching is that we like to get all the mystery out of it because it is basically so simple. “Thou art That”; “Stop trying to be not That” is the basic teaching. If we can recognize that state for what it is, we will get to the place where that remains, and then we automatically do, have, talk, and so forth. And we no more associate ourselves with the doing-ness, having-ness, and so forth.

But the silent teachings are the most effective of teachings. And this is the teaching that all the gurus give. This is one reason why they’re mostly not in body. Because when they are in body, most of us attribute egoity to them, because they have a body to us and they eat and they sleep and so forth. When they don’t have a body, we give them more credit that is due them. And they try to teach us via the silent method. And to the degree that we can accept it, to that degree we receive it from them

It’s the stilling of the whirlpools of thought; it’s quieting thought. When there is no more thought, that is called realization. All thought is motivated by the ego. When there is no more ego, there’s no more thought. It’s the ego that, being separate from the all, thinks it needs things. When we are the all, there’s nothing we need. If there’s a desire, there’s something we don’t have: that’s the ego. So, it’s the ego we need to let go of.



Meister Eckhart: Sermon Two

Sermon Two

(Pf 2, Q 102, QT 58 )

(Matthew 2:2)

“Where is he who is born King of the Jews?” Now observe, as regards this birth, where it takes place: “Where is he who is born?” Now I say as I have often said before, that this eternal birth occurs in the soul precisely as it does in eternity, no more and no less, for it is one birth, and this birth occurs in the essence and ground of the soul.

Now certain questions arise. First of all, since God is in all things as intelligence, and is more truly in them than they are in themselves and more naturally, and since wherever God is there He must needs work, knowing Himself and speaking His Word—in what special respects, then, is the soul better fitted for this divine operation than are other rational creatures in which God also is? Pay attention to the explanation.

God is in all things as being, as activity, as power. But He is fecund in the soul alone, for though every creature is a vestige of God, the soul is the natural image of God. No creature but the soul alone is receptive to this act, this birth. Indeed, such perfection as enters the soul, whether it be divine undivided light, grace or bliss, must needs enter the soul through this birth, and in no other way. Just await this birth within you, and you shall experience all good and all comfort, all happiness, all being and all truth. If you miss it, you will miss all good and blessedness.

Whatever comes to you in that will bring you pure being and stability; but whatever you seek or cleave to apart from this will perish—take it however you will and wherever you will, all will perish. This alone gives being—all else perishes. But in this birth you will share in the divine influx and all its gifts. This cannot be received by creatures in which God’s image is not found, for the soul’s image appertains especially to this eternal birth, which happens truly and especially in the soul, being begotten of the Father in the soul’s ground and innermost recesses, into which no image ever shone or (soul- )power1 peeped.

The second question is: Since this work of birth occurs in the essence and ground of the soul, then it happens just as much in a sinner as in a saint, so what grace or good is there in it for me? For the ground of nature is the same in both—in fact even those in hell retain their nobility of nature eternally.

Now note the answer. It is a property of this birth that it always comes with fresh light. It always brings a great light to the soul, for it is the nature of good to diffuse itself wherever it is. In this birth God streams into the soul in such abundance of light, so flooding the essence and ground of the soul that it runs over and floods into the powers (of the person) and into the outward man. . . . The superfluity of light in the ground of the soul wells over into the body which is filled with radiance. No sinner can receive this light, nor is he worthy to, being full of sin and wickedness, which is called ‘darkness.’ Therefore it says, “The darkness shall neither receive nor comprehend the light” (John 1 : 5 ). That is because the paths by which the light would enter are choked and obstructed with guile and darkness: for light and darkness cannot co-exist, or God and creatures; if God shall enter, the creatures must simultaneously go out. A man is fully aware of this light. Directly he turns to God, a light begins to gleam and glow within him,2 giving him to understand what to do and what to leave undone, with much true guidance in regard to things of which before he knew or understood nothing.

‘From whence do you know this, and in what way?’

Just pay attention. Your heart is often moved and turned away from the world. How could that be but by this illumination? It is so charming and delightful that you become weary of all things that are not God or God’s. It draws you to God and you become aware of many a prompting to do good, though ignorant of whence it comes. This inward inclination is in no way due to creatures or their bidding, for what creatures direct or effect always comes from without. But by this work it is only the ground that is stirred, and the freer you keep yourself the more light, truth, and discernment you will find. Thus no man ever went astray for any other reason than that he first departed from this, and then sought too much to cling to outward things. Finally they go out so far that they never get back home or find their way in again. Thus they have not found the truth, for truth is within, in the ground, and not without. So he who would see light to discern all truth, let him focus on and become aware of this birth within, in the ground. Then all his powers will be illuminated, and the outer man as well. For as soon as God inwardly stirs the ground with truth, its light darts into his powers, and that man knows at times more than anyone could teach him. As the prophet says, “I have gained greater understanding than have all who ever taught me.”3 You see then, because this light cannot shine or illuminate in sinners, that is why this birth cannot possibly occur in them. This birth cannot coexist with the darkness of sin, even though it takes place, not in the powers, but in the essence and ground of the soul.

The question arises: Since God the Father gives birth only in the essence and ground of the soul and not in the powers, what concern is it of theirs? How do they help just by being idle and taking a rest? What is the use, since this birth does not take place in the powers? A good question. Listen well to the explanation.

Every creature works toward some end. The end is always the first in intention but the last in execution. Thus too, God in all His works has a most blessed end in view, namely, Himself: to bring the soul and all her powers into that end–Himself. For this, all God’s works are wrought, for this the Father bears His Son in the soul, so that all the powers of the soul shall come to this. He lies in wait for all that the soul contains, bidding all to this feast at His court. But the soul is scattered abroad among her powers and dissipated in the action of each: the power of sight in the eye, the power of hearing in the ear, the power of tasting in the tongue – thus her ability to work inwardly is enfeebled, for a scattered power is imperfect. So, for her inward work to be effective, she must call in all her powers and gather them together from the diversity of things to a single inward activity. St. Augustine says the soul is rather where she loves than where she gives life to the body. For example, there was once a pagan master4 who was devoted to an art, that of mathematics, to which he had devoted all his powers. He was sitting by the embers, making calculations and practicing this art, when a man came along who drew a sword and, not knowing that it was the master, said, ‘Quick, tell me your name or I’ll kill you! ‘ The master was too absorbed to see or hear the foe or to catch what he said: he was unable to utter a word, even to say, ‘My name is so-and-so.’ And so the enemy, having cried out several times and got no answer, cut off his head. And this was to acquire a mere natural science. How much more then should we withdraw from all things in order to concentrate all our powers on perceiving and knowing the one infinite, uncreated, eternal truth! To this end, then, assemble all your powers, all your senses, your entire mind and memory; direct them into the ground where your treasure lies buried. But if this is to happen, realize that you must drop all other works – you must come to an unknowing, if you would find it.

The question arises: Would it not be more valuable for each power to keep to its own task, none hindering the others in their work, nor God in His? Might there not be in me a manner of creaturely knowing that is not a hindrance, just as God knows all things without hindrance, and so too the blessed in heaven? That is a good question. Note the explanation.

The blessed see God in a single image, and in that image, they discern all things. God too sees Himself thus, perceiving all things in Himself. He need not turn from one thing to another, as we do. Suppose in this life we always had a mirror before us, in which we saw all things at a glance and recognized them in a single image, then neither action nor knowledge would be any hindrance to us. But we have to turn from one thing to another, and so we can only attend to one thing at the expense of another. For the soul is so firmly attached to the powers that she has to flow with them wherever they flow, because in every task they perform the soul must be present and attentive, or they could not work at all. If she is dissipated by attending to outward acts, this is bound to weaken her inward work. For at this birth God needs and must have a vacant free and unencumbered soul, containing nothing but Himself alone, and which looks to nothing and nobody but Him. As to this, Christ says, “Whoever loves anything but me, whoever loves father and mother or many other things is not worthy of me. I did not come upon earth to bring peace but a sword, to cut away all things, to part you from sister, brother, mother, child, and friend that in truth are your foes” (Matt. 10 : 34 -36; cf. 19 : 28 ). For whatever is familiar to you is your foe. If your eye wanted to see all things, and your ear to hear all things and your heart to remember all things, then indeed your soul would be dissipated in all these things.

Accordingly a master says: ‘To achieve an interior act a man must collect all his powers as if into a corner of his soul where, hiding away from all images and forms, he can get to work.’ Here, he must come to a forgetting and an unknowing. There must be a stillness and a silence for this Word to make itself heard. We cannot serve this Word better than in stillness and in silence: there we can hear it, and there too we will understand it aright—in the unknowing. To him who knows nothing it appears and reveals itself.

Another question arises. You might say: ‘Sir, you place all our salvation in ignorance. That sounds like a lack. God made man to know, as the prophet says: “Lord, make them know!” (Tob. 13:4). Where there is ignorance there is a lack, something is missing, a man is brutish, an ape, a fool, and remains so long as he is ignorant.’ Ah, but here we must come to a transformed knowledge, and this unknowing must not come from ignorance, but rather from knowing we must get to this unknowing.6 Then we shall become knowing with divine knowing, and our unknowing will be ennobled and adorned with supernatural knowing. And through holding ourselves passive in this we are more perfect than if we were active. . . .

But our bliss lies not in our activity, but in being passive to God. For just as God is more excellent than creatures, by so much is God’s work more excellent than mine. It was from His immeasurable love that God set our happiness in suffering (passivity)7, for we are acted upon more than we act, and receive incomparably more than we give; and each gift that we receive prepares us to receive yet another gift, indeed a greater one. Therefore some teachers say that it is in this respect that the soul is commensurate with God, for just as God is boundless in giving, so too the soul is boundless in receiving or conceiving. And just as God is omnipotent to act, so too the soul is no less profound to suffer (it), and thus she is transformed with God and in God. God must act and the soul must suffer (it). He must know and love Himself in her. She must know with His knowledge and love with His love, and thus she is far more with what is His than with her own, and so too her bliss is more dependent on His action than on her own.

The pupils of Dionysius asked him why Timothy surpassed them all in perfection. Dionysius replied: ’Timothy is a God-suffering man. Whoever is expert at this could outstrip all men.’

In this way your unknowing is not a lack but your chief perfection, and your suffering your highest activity. And so in this way you must cast aside all your deeds and silence your faculties, if you really wish to experience this birth in you. If you would find the newborn king, you must outstrip and abandon all else that you might find. That we may outstrip and cast behind us all things unpleasing to the newborn king, may He help us who became a human child in order that we might become the children of God. Amen.

1 . Cf. Sermon 1 , note 9.
2. Cf. Sermon 1 , notes 1 4 and 1 5 .
3. Cf. Eccles. 1 : 1 6 (Q).
4. Archimedes, who is said to have been killed by a Roman soldier while making
geometrical drawings in the dust in his own garden at Syracuse ( 2 1 2 B.C.E.).
5 . I.e., those in heaven, not the ‘saints,’ as Miss Evans translates.
6. This is, as Quint points out, the same as the Docta ignorantia of Nicholas
Cusanus ( 1401-64).
7. MHG ‘Iiden’ means both ‘suffering’ and ‘passivity.’
8. In gate (dative), not, as Miss Evans translates, ‘into God.’

M. O’C. Walshe (1987). Meister Eckhart: Sermons and Treatises Volume I. UK: Element Books Limited (pp. 15-23)