LIFE 101
Everything We Wish We Had Learned About Life In School -- But Didn't



You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.


You might think of observation as a meditation of acceptance. You sit and simply accept everything that happens, both inner and outer. Consider: almost the only time you want to respond to something outside yourself is when something inside demands it.

What is that inner demand? What is the voice (or voices) that insists you do this, or run away from that? Why do you sometimes follow that voice automatically--maybe even unconsciously? The answers to these questions lie in observation.

To observe, don't do anything; simply notice the inner process. The voices demanding you do this, move there, or scratch whatever may rise to screaming crescendo. Don't do anything; continue to observe.

At first, observation is best practiced alone. Set a timer. Start with, say, five minutes and build up. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and tell yourself, "I'm not going to move my body until the timer goes off." Then sit and observe.

The inner voices may start quietly, but as they feel "ignored," they tend to get louder. One may want you to shift your position. Don't. Observe the voice demanding that you shift. One may want you to scratch an itch. Don't. Observe the itch; observe the emotional reaction to not scratching the itch. ("It's my body, and I can scratch it if I want to!") Observe it all. If the phone rings, observe the desire to answer it. Don't answer it. Observe it. Observe your inner reaction to an outer ringing.

If you resist evil, as soon as it's gone, you'll fold.


Observation may sound easy on paper. The inner voices that don't want to lose control often say at this point, "That would be no problem for us; we don't need to do that exercise." Try it and see.

As we increase the amount of time we observe while sitting still, we can then start observing while moving around.

Time for a Pop Quiz!

Observation shows us:

  1. our inner reactions to outer experiences
  2. that it's our reaction to what happens around us, not what happens around us, that motivates us
  3. the demands the voices inside us make
  4. that we don't have to do anything with, to, or about the voices
  5. that we don't have to do anything about most outer experiences
  6. all of the above

Observation leads us to a point of neutrality--a place where we don't have to react, either positively or negatively, to any situation. We simply are.

Neutrality is not neuter, nor is it like "Neutral" in a car. We can engage our gears and move ahead and remain neutral. In fact, when we're not reacting--almost reflexively--to this, that, and everything, our action becomes more effective. We can maintain an inner calm and still be dynamically involved.

Another way of viewing this: observation disconnects our "buttons." We know that when someone "pushes our button," we react. Push, react. Push, react. Push, react. We are no longer in control; the person or thing pushing the button is.

Through observation, we notice that it's not the pushing of the button, but our reaction to the pushing that causes our response. Eventually, by intentionally not responding and simply observing, we dissolve the push-react connection. (We will discuss in Parts Four and Five ways of reconnecting the buttons to the responses you want.)

Every man has one thing he can do better than anyone else and usually it is reading his own handwriting.


Think of "observing" as "obviously serving" yourself, and "neutral" as "new trails" of freedom, fun, and adventure.

Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.


Keep a Record of Your Progress

I hear that you're building Your house deep in the desert. Are you living for nothing now? I hope you're keeping Some kind of record.


Record each day, in some way:

The "classical" way of recording such things is, of course, a journal, or a diary. ("Keep a diary, and someday your diary will keep you."--Mae West.) Your record-keeping need not, however, be that formal. You might have a box into which you toss mementos, letters, matchbook covers (etc.), and dated notes to yourself.

In this electronic age, you might keep a file in your computer. Using your word processor, you can include copies of your best letters, poems, etc. in your journal file, and then use the best from your electronic journal in letters, manuscripts, and so on.

You could use a tape recorder and "debrief" yourself each evening, or take one along and record things "as they happen."

To be one's self, and unafraid whether right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformity.


You could try a video log: sit in front of a video camera each day and talk about the previous twenty-four hours, or record a voice-over as the camera explores the physical memorabilia of the day.

The key here, as with all my suggestions (and, for that matter, life itself), is flexibility and fun.

A second key: do whatever you'll consistently do. Don't start an Epic Production that will be abandoned in a short while (with the best intentions of returning to it, of course). Build up to that. For now, you might start by scribbling a note or two in the margins of this book as you go along.

Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.



I'm going to turn on the light, and we'll be two people in a room looking at each other and wondering why on earth we were afraid of the dark.


If you've used the light before, you know whether or not it works for you. This will be a reminder. If you've never used light, then consider this chapter the parameters of an experiment. Please neither believe nor disbelieve that this tool is effective; simply try it in a variety of situations, and see what happens.

Using the light is very easy. You simply ask that the light (you can imagine it as a clear, pure white light) be sent somewhere for the highest good of all concerned. That's it. That's using the light.

In fact, light can't be "sent"--it's all around all the time everywhere anyway. In a sense, it's as silly to "send" light as it is to "send" air. (When I was traveling in Israel, however, I did buy a can of "Air From the Holy Land.") We do ask the light that's already there (or here) to "do its thing" for the highest good.

How do we know the light "worked"? Sometimes the situation changes, sometimes our attitude about the situation changes, and sometimes both.

Things may not change the way we want them to change. The light is not a bellhop in the sky. It will not do what you want at the expense of others--or yourself. As Oscar Wilde pointed out, "When the gods choose to punish us, they merely answer our prayers." To have all of our desires fulfilled would be a curse.

That's where the "highest good" comes in. We don't always know what the highest good is. (We often think we do or feel we do--but haven't our thoughts and feelings been wrong in the past?) That's why I suggest that, when you use the light, you add "...for the highest good of all concerned." The "highest good" is the safety clause. We don't want to play Sorcerer's Apprentice with our--or others'--lives.

Man is his own star, and the soul that can Render an honest and a perfect man Commands all light, all influence, all fate.


Using the light doesn't require an elaborate ritual or procedure. It takes almost no time. You can get it down to three words: "light, highest good." If you're concerned about someone or something, add "light, highest good" to the concern, and let it go. Then, if you so choose, do something about improving the situation. If you choose not to get physically involved, send the light and let it go. You've done all that you can do, which, you may find, is quite a lot.

In what situations can you use the light? In what situations can you use air? I can't imagine a situation in which you couldn't use the light. Just before dropping off to sleep, some people ask for the light to surround, fill, protect, bless, and heal them, for their highest good and the highest good of all concerned. When they wake up, they ask the light not only to be with them, but also to go ahead of them, preparing the day for their highest good.

Using light is not a religion, any more than using air is a religion. People who claim light as an exclusive part of their doctrine might as well claim that only its believers can enjoy the benefits of air. The light can be used as an adjunct to any religious or spiritual path you are on, or it can be used in a purely secular way.

Eventually, using the light becomes as automatic as breathing.


See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds, With Joy and Love triumphing.


In a sense, it's unfortunate the term visualization has become the almost-exclusive word for any work done using the imagination. The word visual is, of course, connected to sight. People try a moment or two of "visualization," say they never "saw" anything, and give up. When they hear about the wonders of visualization, they assume it's another one of "those things" that other people can do, but they can't.

Actually, a great many people never "see" a thing during visualization. Others have murky images. Some only have a "sense" or feeling of things. Others hear the "images." Few people, in fact, see the crisp, clear, Technicolor images we assume most everybody (but us) sees.

We all "visualize." If I asked you to draw a circle, you could do it. A circle is a visual thing. You had to "envision" it. However you "saw" the circle in your imagination, that's how you'll "see" while visualizing.

Don't remember how you "saw" the circle? Try a triangle. How about a square? "It's just there," you might say. Or maybe you notice, "It takes a little while, but then it appears." Either one is fine.

Now graduate school. Think of the Eiffel Tower. The Statue of Liberty. The moon. An orange. A lemon. A lake. A rose. What color is the rose? Is it a red, red rose, or are you from Texas? Some get an "image" instantly, others take as long as five seconds each. (And five seconds can seem like a long time.) However you got these--be it a sense, feeling, verbal description, or an image--that's how you visualize.

The real distinction is between those who adapt their purposes to reality and those who seek to mould reality in the light of their purposes.


Most of us spend a great deal of time believing visual lies. We have an image of our unworthiness, believe it, and that gives birth to one imagined failure after another. The unworthiness is a lie, but the projected failures can come true: what we focus on, we can become.

With visualization, you begin to tell yourself visual truths.

There is only one admirable form of the imagination: the imagination that is so intense that it creates a new reality, that it makes things happen, whether it be a political thing or a social thing or a work of art.


The Sanctuary

I discovered the "something" in "nothing."


A sanctuary is an inner retreat you build with visualization in your imagination. Here you can discover the truth about yourself, and work to affirm it. ("Make it firm.")

I call it a sanctuary. Some call it a workshop, or an inner classroom. You can call it whatever word gives you the sense of asylum, harbor, haven, oasis, shelter--a place you can go to learn your lessons in peace and harmony, or just take a rest and get away from it all.

There are absolutely no limits to your sanctuary, although it's a good idea to put some limits on it. In this way, the sanctuary is a transitional point between the limitations of our physical existence and the unlimited.

The sanctuary can be any size, shape, or dimension you choose--large and elaborate or small and cozy. It can be located anywhere--floating in space, on a mountain top, by an ocean, in a valley, anywhere. (You are welcome to combine all these, if you like.) The nice thing about the sanctuary: you can change it or move it anytime--instantly.

The sanctuary can contain anything. I'll suggest some things here, but consider this just the beginning of your shopping list. Before giving my design tips (you can consider me your interior designer), I'll talk about ways in which you might want to "build" your sanctuary.

Some people will build theirs by simply reading the suggestions: as they read each, it's there. Others might read them over now for information, and then put on some soft music, close their eyes, and let the construction begin. Still others may want to make this an active process. With their eyes closed (and being careful not to bump into too much furniture), they might physically move as each area of the sanctuary is built. Any--or any combination--of these is, of course, fine.

The doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his client to plant vines.


While reading through my suggestions, you will probably get ideas for additions or alterations. By all means make notes of these, or simply incorporate them as you go. Have I gotten across the idea that this is your sanctuary? Okay, let's go.

Entryway. This is a door or some device that responds only to you and lets only you enter. (I'll suggest a way to bring others into your sanctuary in a moment.)

Light. Each time you enter your sanctuary, a pure, white light cascades over you, surrounding, filling, protecting, blessing, and healing you--for your highest good, and the highest good of all concerned.

Main Room. Like the living room of a house or the lobby of a hotel, this is the central area. From here, there are many directions you can go and many things to explore.

People Mover. This is a device to move people in and out of your sanctuary. No one ever enters without your express permission and invitation. You can use an elevator, conveyor belt, Star Trek beam-me-up device, or anything else that moves people. Let there be a white light at the entry of the mover as well, so that as people enter and leave your sanctuary, they are automatically surrounded, filled, protected, and healed by that white light, and only that which is for their highest good and the highest good of all concerned takes place.

Information Retrieval System. This is a method of getting any kind of information--providing, of course, it's for your highest good (and the highest good of all concerned) that you have it. The information retrieval system can be a computer screen, a staff of librarians, a telephone, or any other device that will answer your questions.

Video Screen. This is a video (or movie) screen on which you can view various parts of your life--past, present, or future. The screen has a white light around it. When you see images you don't like or don't want to encourage, the light is off. When the screen displays images you want to affirm, the light glows. (Those who are old enough to remember Sylvania's Halo of Light television know just what I mean.)

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.--Now put the foundations under them.


Ability Suits. This is a closet of costumes that, when worn, give you the instant ability to be anything you want--great actor, successful writer, perfect lover, eager learner, Master of your Universe; any and all are available to you. When you're done with an ability suit, just throw it on the floor in front of the closet--ability suits have the ability to hang themselves up.

Ability Suit Practice Area. This is a place you can try new skills--or improve on old ones--while wearing your ability suits. Leave lots of room, because there's an ability suit for flying and another for space travel. In your sanctuary, not even the sky's a limit.

Health Center. Here the healing arts of all the ages--past, present, future; traditional and alternative--are gathered in one place. All are devoted to your greater health. The health center is staffed with the most competent health practitioners visualization can buy. Who is the most healing being you can imagine? That's who runs your center.

Playroom. Here, all the toys you ever wanted --as a child or as an adult--are gathered. There's lots of room--and time--to play with each. As with ability suits, you never have to worry about "putting your toys away." They put themselves away.

Sacred Room. This is a special sanctuary within your sanctuary. You can go there for meditation, contemplation, or special inner work.

Master Teacher. This is your ideal teacher, the being with whom you are the perfect student. The Master Teacher knows everything about you (has always been with you, in fact). The Master Teacher also knows all you need to learn, the perfect timing for your learning it, and the ideal way of teaching it to you. You don't create a Master Teacher--that's already been done. You discover your Master Teacher. To meet your Master Teacher, simply walk over to your people mover, ask for your Master Teacher to come forth, and from the pure, white light of your people mover comes your Master Teacher.

(I'll leave you two alone for a while. More uses for the sanctuary later. See you both in Part Three!)

Imagination is more important than knowledge.


Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story.



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