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



Gladness of the heart is the life of a man, and the joyfulness of a man prolongeth his days.


There is no end to joy--no upper limit. When you think you've had all the joy you can tolerate, you've only reached your limit, not joy's. Use that moment to expand your limit.

Don't just increase joy by a little. Double it. Then, double that. Discover that your capacity to know joy is as limitless as joy itself.

As limitless as you.

Grow Up!

The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up.


Ever watch someone have a temper tantrum? Or go on and on about how unfairly the world treated her? Or cry over the loss of a love he didn't much like anyway? Ever watch a fit of jealousy, pettiness, or vindictiveness? On those occasions, didn't you want to quote Joan Rivers: "Grow up!"

I'm not talking about childlike qualities--joy, playfulness, spontaneity. I'm talking about childish traits--spoiled, infantile, inconsiderate.

This sort of immaturity hurts and offends not just those around us; it hurts and offends us. Even while we're doing it, we know, "This isn't right." Even through the anger, fear, and separation, we know, "This isn't necessary."

And it's not. It's time to mature, to ripen, to grow up.

Heal the Past

I don't have a warm personal enemy left. They've all died off. I miss them terribly because they helped define me.


What hurts about the past is our memory. We remember the pain of an event, and we hurt again. Fortunately, we can heal the memories of the past.

One technique is to go into your sanctuary (remembering to let the light at your entryway surround, fill, protect, bless, and heal you for your highest good), sit in front of the video screen, and, on the screen, watch the memory that is causing the pain. The "halo" around the screen is dark. Let the memory play itself out. (If the images are difficult, you might ask your Master Teacher to join you. Master Teachers are great for holding hands, giving comfort, and instilling courage.)

Then let the image fade. Let the white light around the screen glow brightly. Then see the same scene the way you wanted it to be. What do you wish had happened? See it. What do you wish you had said? Hear yourself saying it. How do you wish others had responded? See them responding that way. What would you like to have felt? Feel that.

Replacing a negative memory with a positive one heals it.

You can also use your health center. Perhaps there is a special memory-healing device or magic elixir or a master with a touch that heals. Whatever you wish medical science had that would heal the past, imagine it in your health center, and use it.

If the hurt involves other people, you can invite them into your sanctuary. Under the guidance and protection of your Master Teacher, you can tell them whatever it is you want them to know, forgive them (and yourself), and let them go into that pure, white light of the people mover.

There's no need to dwell on the past, remembering every little painful detail and then healing it. Just heal what surfaces on its own, and move on with your life--your present.

Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter.


Memory, the priestess, kills the present and offers its heart on the shrine of the dead past.



Of one thing I am certain, the body is not the measure of healing--peace is the measure.


Health is the state about which medicine has nothing to say.


Health is more than just the lack of illness--health is aliveness, energy, joy.

By always focusing on eliminating illness, few of us learn how to enhance health--or even that enhancing health is possible. It is.

You don't have to be sick to get better.

Health is not just for the body. Health includes the mind, the emotions, the whole person. Health is the amount of vibrant, peaceful, loving energy flowing through your being. The more energy, the greater the health.

Let that energy flow in you, through you.

Health is not heavy. Health is light work.

For Giving

God may forgive you, but I never can.


Forgiving means "for giving"--in favor of giving.

When you forgive another, to whom do you give? The other? Sometimes. Yourself? Always. To forgive another is being in favor of giving to yourself.

In addition, most of us judge ourselves more harshly and more often than we judge others. It's important to forgive ourselves for all the things we hold against ourselves.

There is a third judgment to forgive: the fact that we judged in the first place. When we judge, we leave our happiness behind--sometimes way behind. We know this, and we judge ourselves for having judged.

The layers of forgiveness, then, are: first, the person we judged (ourselves or another); and, second, ourselves for having judged in the first place.

The technique? Simple.

Say to yourself, "I forgive ________________ (NAME OF THE PERSON, PLACE, OR THING YOU JUDGED, INCLUDING YOURSELF) for _______________ (THE `TRANSGRESSION'). I forgive myself for judging _______________ (SAME PERSON, PLACE, OR THING, INCLUDING YOURSELF) for ______________ (WHAT YOU JUDGED)."

That's it. Simple, but amazingly effective. You can say it out loud, or say it to yourself.

If you have a lot to forgive one person for, you might want to invite that person into your sanctuary and forgive the person there. (Ask your Master Teacher to come along, if you like.)

That's all there is to forgiveness. Simple but powerful. How powerful? Try it for five minutes. See what happens.

Of course God will forgive me; that's his business.


The American public would forgive me anything except running off with Eddie Fisher.


For Getting

Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.


After you've forgiven the transgression and judgment, there's only one thing to do: forget them. Whatever "protection" you think you may gain from remembering all your past grievances is far less important than the balm of forgetting.

What's the value in forgetting? It's all in the word: for getting--to be in favor of getting, of receiving.

We sometimes think that shaking a fist (threateningly, with all the remembered transgressions) is the way to get something. A shaking fist tends to beget a shaking (or swinging) fist.

To receive, for give. To get, for get.

Remembering a grievance locks you into remembering hurt, pain, anger, betrayal, and disappointment. Who on earth wants that? Let it go. For give it away. Then for get something new and better (light-er) in its place.

Heal the memories. Forgive the past. Then forget it. Let it go. It is not worth remembering. None of it's worth remembering. What's worth experiencing is the joy of this moment.

To get it, for get.


The children despise their parents until the age of forty, when they suddenly become just like them--thus preserving the system.


Why, just when we were feeling all joyful, did I have to bring them up? Well, they brought us up, so, for a moment, allow me to bring them up.

It may seem that I have been harsh on parents in this book. When explaining why we feel unworthy, think negatively, or aren't happy, I often returned to the childhood, and there loomed Mom and Dad.

Yes, I am guilty of that, and I now make my amends with these thoughts:

  1. Your childhood is over. You are now in charge of your life. You can't blame the past--or anyone in it--for what you do today . Even if you can formulate a convincing argument to the contrary, it does you no good. Your childhood is gone. It's past.

    Blaming the past is like blaming gravity for the glass you broke. Yes, without gravity, the glass would not have fallen. But you know about gravity and you know about glasses and you know what happens when you combine gravity, a falling glass, and a hard surface.

    Your childhood is like gravity. It was what it was. Your life today is like the glass. Handle it with care. If it breaks, clean up the mess, and get another glass (your life tomorrow) from the cupboard.

  2. Your parents did the best they could with what they knew. Like you, your parents weren't given an instruction manual for life. They had to learn it as they went along. They had to learn how to make a living, run a home, get along with each other, and raise a baby (you) all at the same time. No easy task. Along the way, they made lots of mistakes. They weren't the perfect parents. But, let's face it, you weren't the perfect child, either.

  3. How you turned out is mostly a result of genetics anyway.

  4. Your parents gave you the greatest gift of all: Life. Whatever else they did or didn't do, if not for them, you wouldn't be here. They deserve a big thank-you for that.

You don't have to like your parents. But it feels better if you learn to love them.

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.


If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it.



Laugh. Out loud. Often.

Laughter is inner jogging.


Laughter's good for you--which may be too bad. If it raised the cholesterol count or had too many calories, people might do it more often. If laughter were only forbidden , then people would do it all the time. We'd have laugh police. If they caught you laughing, they'd write you a ticket.

Children's TV programming would have to be monitored very carefully. We wouldn't want anyone pushing humor on innocent young minds. "What are you kids doing in there?" "We're drinking beer and smoking cigarettes." "Okay, but no laughing."

Pop Quiz! Which is funniest:

  1. "I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I don't know." (Mark Twain)

  2. "Aristotle was famous for knowing everything. He taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons." (Will Cuppy)

  3. "The school of hard knocks is an accelerated curriculum." (Menander)

  4. "I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my bath toys were a toaster and a radio." (Joan Rivers)

  5. "My parents put a live Teddy bear in my crib." (Woody Allen)

  6. "Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth." (Erma Bombeck)

  7. Life is like laughing with a cracked rib.


Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean, Tears from the depth of some divine despair Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes, In looking on the happy autumn fields, And thinking of the days that are no more.


Crying, like laughing, is a marvelous, natural release. People feel so good after a cry, I wonder why it's such a taboo.

People come pouring out of a movie theater, sniffling and dripping--you'd think they'd set off a tear gas canister. You ask them, "What happened?" fully expecting the story of a disaster. They sob, "That was the best movie I ever saw." (One wants to remind them that the correct grammar necessitates, "That was the best movie I have ever seen ," but they seem so upset already.)

Tears are natural to healing and enjoying. Intense feelings of gratitude, awe, and compassion are often accompanied by tears. "Moved to tears," as they say.

Allow yourself to be moved by your life, not just the movies.


To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.


Unlike money, wealth is not just what you have. Wealth is what you can do without.

Who is wealthier, the person who is addicted to something and has plenty of money to buy it, or the person who doesn't desire the addictive substance at all?

Wealthy people carry their riches within. The less they need of this physical world, the wealthier they are. They may or may not have large sums of money. It matters not. Whatever they have is fine.

Wealth is health, happiness, abundance, prosperity, riches, loving, caring, sharing, learning, knowing what we want, opportunity, enjoying, and balance.

Wealth is enjoying one's own company.

Wealth is being able to love oneself fully.

WEALTH 101: Wealth Is Much More Than Money. At your local bookstore, or call 1-800-LIFE-101.


Don't go to piano bars where young, unemployed actors get up and sing. Definitely don't be a young, unemployed actor who gets up and sings.


You would be far happier if you gave up certain things. This may not be easy for you. I nonetheless suggest you give them up--go cold turkey--starting right now, this minute, before you turn the page.

Give is a nice word. Up is a nice word. Put them together, and people can get awfully nasty. "I'm not going to give up anything . And sacrifice. That's even worse than giving up. Sacrifice means giving up something really good."

Maybe not. I think you'd be better off sacrificing greed, lust, hurt, judgments, demands, spoiledness, envy, jealousy, vindictiveness.

Did you think I was going to ask you to give up good stuff? Most people think that sacrifice means giving up only the good stuff. Not so. The negative stuff, the cold stuff, the hard stuff--you can sacrifice those, too.

And you can give them up. Surrender them to the higher part of yourself. Surround them with light. Let them go.

You don't need them anymore.


The idea that life is take, take, take (learn, learn, learn) needs to be balanced with the idea that life is also giving (teaching). Receiving and giving (learning and teaching) are two parts of a single flow, like breathing in (receiving) and breathing out (giving). One cannot take place without the other.

The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are made of the same water. It flows down, clear and cool, from the heights of Hermon and the roots of the cedars of Lebanon. The Sea of Galilee makes beauty of it, for the Sea of Galilee has an outlet. It gets to give. It gathers in its riches that it may pour them out again to fertilize the Jordan plain. But the Dead Sea with the same water makes horror. For the Dead Sea has no outlet. It gets to keep.


We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants absorb the carbon dioxide and release oxygen. The cycle is complete. This connection between giving and receiving is fundamental to life.

What is waste to animals is essential to plants, and vice versa. Our own taking from and giving to life is just as intimately connected.

We seem to be students of those who know more than we do, doers with those who know just about as much as we do, and teachers of those who know less than we do. Life is a process of doing, learning, enjoying, and teaching.

In ten minutes on the job, you might learn how to transfer a call on the new phone system, consult with a co-worker on a method for increasing sales, and teach someone how to load paper into the copy machine. And this learning-doing-teaching can take place with the same person.

This learning-doing-teaching happens in almost every area of life--and all three often happen simultaneously. The child we are teaching to read and write is, in the same moment, teaching us innocence and wonder.

When we give a stranger directions, why do we feel so good? Because giving is a natural part of life. If we're lost and somebody puts us on the right track, that feels good, too. Receiving is also a natural part of life.

Boy: Teach me what you know, Jim.
Reverend Jim: That would take hours, Terry. Ah, what the heck! We've all got a little Obi Wan Kenobie in us.


When we learn to give to ourselves so fully that our cup overflows, then we may be called to be of service. Service is not a chore. Service is a privilege.

In truth, giving is not just a natural act; it hurts not to give. We see the pain in another, and we want to ease the hurt. We see someone lost, and want to help them find the way.

Sometimes our gift is a hug or a kind word or the right bit of information at the right moment. Perhaps it's a smile or a sigh or a laugh. And maybe you cry with someone--or for them.

There is no need to seek students, just as there is no need to seek lessons. When the teacher is ready, the student appears.

When the server is ready, the service appears.

The Attitude of Gratitude

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.


The word gratitude comes from the root gratus , which means pleasing. The obvious interpretation is that when you are pleased with something, you are grateful. A second interpretation--the more radical, and therefore the one I prefer--is that when you are grateful, then you are pleased, not by the thing, but by the gratitude.

In other words, to feel pleased, be grateful.

We have so much to be grateful for. Alas, it's part of human behavior to take good things for granted. It's biological, actually. A part of our brain filters out whatever isn't hurtful, fearful, or physically moving. This filtering helped our forebears separate the beasts from the rocks and the trees.

Today, this same device starts filtering out all the good things we have, almost as soon as we get them. After a week or month or year with something that initially was wonderful , we have grown accustomed to it. We take it for granted.

What to do? Counteract complacency. Consciously be grateful for the good in your life. Make lists. Have gratitude flings. Be thankful for little things, big things, every thing.

Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.


Appreciate the things that are so magnificent, you took them for granted decades ago. What am I talking about? Your senses. Quick! Name all five! Some people can name the five Great Lakes faster than name their own senses. Let's not forget the brain and the body and the emotions, and walking, talking, thumbs. Thumbs? Sure: Try to pick up some things without using your thumbs.

As Dale Evans once said, "I'm so busy loving everybody, I don't have any time to hate anybody." When you start noticing even a small portion of all there is to be grateful for, you'll find there's no room for lack, hurt, or want.

The attitude of gratitude: the great, full feeling.

Rest and be thankful.



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