by Marilyn J. Muir

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NOTE:  This is meant to be read as part of a series, in order from Part 1 to Part IV.  If you haven’t read this from the beginning, please do that now.  Thanks!

We have so far worked on Basic Education, so as to learn the limitations which have been programmed into us, the conditions that we have programmed into ourselves, and some of the sneaky ways that this kind of conditioning influences us.

The next subject we discussed and worked on was our Freedom of Action.  We discussed what each of us thought freedom was.  After we finished with that class, we started to realize how much freedom we really have – that nobody has taken it away from us, but that we have given it away, or we have allowed ourselves to believe that our freedom has been taken away, a great deal of it, or that we didn’t have it.

Freedom is a condition of the mind and nothing else. Now we have to start applying that knowledge and begin to recognize where the limitations in our freedom are, that they are in our mind. This doesn’t mean that just by knowing this we can turn around today or tomorrow or any other time and be totally free.  It’s not going to happen overnight.  It’s not something that magically all goes away, and we experience total freedom.  What’s going to happen is that

  • we’re going to start recognizing little by little the small ways in which our freedom is eroded,
  • we’re going to start recognizing how we give our freedom away,
  • and gradually start asserting ourselves a little more.

I think it’s marvelous that Bart is in this early.  If he’s paid any attention at all, he’s got a heck of a better chance of coming out with his freedom intact than the rest of us, because we’ve got more conditioning to overcome.  He’s got far fewer years on conditioning.  We’ve got two to three times the number of years of conditioning to deal with.  Old habits die very hard.

I think I mentioned in some of the other classes that it takes only three times of doing something in a row to make a habit.  If you, for instance, let your child get into bed with you three nights in a row, it’s going to become a habit that’s hard to break.  If you allow it two nights in a row and make sure that the third night the child goes back to where he’s supposed to be, you can deal with it.  Once you allow it to become a habit, then it becomes very traumatic to change.  That’s all it takes – three times.  Say you’re going to learn to exercise, for instance.  If you can discipline yourself to do it the first three times, it gets easier after that.  The first three times are the hard ones.  When you’ve embedded the action the first three times, then you’ll discover that it’s easier after that point, because now you’ve got a conditioning factor.  Your subconscious has accepted it as a new habit.  When you’re dealing with a child, there’s so little patterning in there, so little programming, that it becomes a very noticeable thing.  Now it becomes a solid program, because there are not a lot of other programs competing with one another.

Once you’ve allowed that kind of conditioning factor to take place, you’ve given up your freedom.  That means that someone like Bart has an opportunity to say to himself, “Oops, wait a minute.  That’s programming!  Do I really want that program?  Is that going to be a positive thing if I allow it to go in and reproduce in my mind?  In other words, what is it going to attract to me?”  He knows what he’s setting up, because he knows that the third time he does a thing consecutively, it becomes a habit.  Now he owns it!

We can use this knowledge now in a different way.  It’s harder for adults, because we’ve already had so much programming in our subconscious that we’ve got to get rid of.  It may take us years to get to the point that we can really exercise as much freedom as we would like to have.  Actually, we are as free as we allow ourselves to be.  We are as free as we give ourselves permission to be.  And we can be totally free this instant, though it’s rather doubtful that we’ll really do it.  There’s that thing about possibility, probability, and reality.  There are a couple of stages in that.  It is entirely possible for someone to make a connection in their mind and have them say, “Is that all there is to it?  I’ll do it!”  A lot of people turn that miracle.  It just basically means that all the right connections got made at exactly the right moment, everything slipped into place, and it was done.  That’s really quite rare.

What we can hope for is to realize, “Oh, so that’s what’s going on!”  Start watching it happen. Start watching ourselves participate in it.  See it before it happens.  By that time, we’re starting to work on one more freedom.  But the problem is that there are more and more conditioning factors that will come up.  If you’re really interested in freedom, start observing yourself, and start paying attention especially to those new conditioning factors, particularly to those that are coming in multiples of three.  That’s what you need to watch out for.

My intermediate Astrology class has always met on Thursday.  I said something about switching the class. That was an old habit that died hard!  I thought, “There’s no particular reason for it to be on Thursday.  It’s just always been on Thursday.”  The students were really quite pliable, so it wasn’t bad.  But it’s really that easy for something to get programmed in.  To fall into something and have it be so gradual that you don’t realize that you’ve managed to get yourself into some sort of dumb habit.  When you do that, you give up your freedom.

When you allow someone else to put you on a guilt trip, you’re giving up your freedom.  When you let someone else make your decisions for you, you’ve given up your freedom.  There’s always a price tag.  There’s always a price tag for indecision, for indecision is the decision not to make a decision.  We can’t get away from making decisions, so we might as well make the decision that makes us the most comfortable, and brings a personal sense of satisfaction.  There is a price tag in either case.  You may choose to pay the price tag in guilt, but it’s still a price tag.  You may choose that, but since you’re going to feel bad anyway, you might as well have what you want.  In other words, you’re the one who has to determine which price tag you want to pay.  But nobody’s taking away your freedom.  You’re buying and selling it, depending on which price tag you’re willing to pay.

We have covered a lot of ground on that subject.  Has anyone come up with any thoughts or anything relative to the two first parts of the class?  Have we gotten any mileage out of it so far?

COMMENT:  I’ve heard similar statements that did not make as much sense to me.

MARILYN:  You know, it’s really interesting, because I’m learning just as much as you are.  There’s a lot coming out.  As you know, I don’t have this class written down.  I don’t know exactly what it is I’m teaching.  I’m trusting that since I was told to teach it this way, that the right information is going to come down through.  So you all need to realize that I’m getting as much of an education as you are.  And I’m sure it’s all stuff I’ve run into before.  There are little bits and pieces scattered around in my head, ”little pieces I have read here and there” type of thing.  But I had never drawn it together, never even come to any kind of conclusion.  I was well aware of the fact that freedom was in my head.  That I knew a long time ago.  I took Science of Mind, and that’s one of the first things they hit me with, that you’re as free as you choose to be.  But I have never quite put it together in the way that it’s coming out in class.  I’m getting the same education as you.  That’s almost like I’m teaching me as I’m teaching you, or I’m starting to round it out and define it.  I’m assuming that it’s okay that I’m being used, because somebody from another source (a non-physical source) wanted this class taught.  So I assume that the people who are sitting in this class are the people who need this particular type of information.  I’m thrilled that Bart is here.  I’m not trying to single him out.  I’m just saying, I wish I could get to a lot of the kids today, kids his age, because they can do so much more with their lives, without the hassle that we’ve had to go through. We’ve all had to learn the hard way.  It would be nice to get to young people before they get into all those conditioning factors and help them do something more positive with their lives.

My own kids have been exposed to this, my youngest one since she was four.  They’ve had a heck of an education, not because they’ve had classes, but because they’ve been constantly exposed to it.  To them it’s normal.  Even now, when bad things occur to them, when they have difficulties (my nineteen-year-old son going through a divorce)… How old are you, Bart, fourteen, fifteen?  Fourteen.  My son’s only five years older than that, and he’s going through a divorce.  Mother is saying, “Oh, my  goodness!”  But my son said, “You know, this is a lot to go through, but I think I’ve really learned a great deal from it.  Now I’ll have my head screwed on more straight.”  And I thought, “If he hadn’t had all these years of learning (since he was ten or eleven), a nineteen-year-old wouldn’t have that good an attitude. No animosity, no bitterness, nothing.  He looks at it as an objective lesson.  He’s not very happy about it, but at the same time, he has a much better attitude than I’ve seen most adults have.  And I think it’s important that he’s not filled with bitterness.

So, it all has to do with what goes on in our heads.  You know, there’s only one person that we can control.  We cannot control any other person.  We can sit around and play rinky-dink in our heads and think we can.  We can take someone who’s little and bully him, but there is nothing to ensure that that person will be there the next time we want to bully him.  They could remove themselves from us.  The fact that we want to give our spouses a hard time will not ensure that our spouses will stay with us.  They can choose to (for whatever reason), but they don’t have to.  Unless you tie someone to a chair or lock him in  a room where he can’t get out, everybody has choices.  My feeling is that if you allow yourself to be locked in a room or tied to a chair, somehow or other you’ve managed to make a choice on some level so that kind of experience came into your life.  You’re leaning something – that you don’t like to be locked in a room, or tied to a chair, and that there’s a reason for that experience, too.

There is an element of freedom that has to do with what’s in your head.  You know, many of the prisoners of war who had a little bit of knowledge about meditation or other means of controlling the mind had a much easier time than the others, because they could escape to some degree. They know that their physical imprisonment was not the same as a mental imprisonment. They were able to help themselves.  Those who were good at astral travel, for instance, could do a lot of things to help themselves, and weather that kind of difficulty a lot better than the people who had no escape from the physical environment.  It takes no great degree of imagination to imagine that conditions in prisoner of war camps must have been atrocious.  The prisoners with trained minds did not have to stay totally within that physical reality.

We’re talking tonight about sense distortion, and the fact that it is more than illusion.  A lot of Eastern philosophies teach the principle of Maya (illusion).  That all this (apparent world) is an illusion.  The Eastern teachings really hammer that concept home at you, that this is an illusion, and that the only way to escape is to keep saying that it’s an illusion.  I have to look at the results of this belief system in India.  That’s my answer.  That it’s not the answer. They have chosen to ignore poverty and the rest of the stuff and think it is all an illusion, and we’ve all chosen to participate in this.  And all we’ve got to do is ignore it, and we’re going to be over it.  What’s happened is that it has hampered their intellectual growth in figuring out how to bring them out of their poverty, and I cannot believe that’s the right way to go.  I do believe they have a handle on part of the truth, but they don’t have a handle on all of the truth.

I think that Western man has done the exact opposite. We’ve gotten into gratification of the senses almost totally.  And in doing so, we have not maintained our spiritual growth.  That’s what’s happening right now.  That’s why everything is so distorted.  We have grown technologically, we have grown materially, we have grown physically, but we have not grown on other levels.  The Western culture has done the more material, intellectual, physical type of thing, and the Eastern culture has done the more emotional, devotional, and philosophical approach (the Eastern intellectuals).  Each culture developed only one facet of what had to be developed totally, but somewhat to the exclusion of the other, and that’s where the imbalance has come in.

One of the things that we have a problem with here in the West is in attempting to adapt to the attitudes, religious beliefs, and customs prescribed by Eastern philosophy. We have different types of bodies than do Eastern people. We can adapt only certain of their rituals and practices to our culture, because we are so different from them. I could study Eastern philosophy only up to a point, and then my head would not allow me to go past that point, and I never quite understood what was occurring. What was occurring was a very natural thing.  I do not have an Eastern intellect, I do not have an Eastern body, I do not have an Eastern cultural conditioning set of factors, so I cannot adapt carte blanche to Eastern practices.  If I did, I would have to look at the results, and say to myself, “Is that what I want?  If this is the philosophy that produced this particular set of conditions, is that acceptable to me?”  I think there is great beauty in their teachings.  I think you’ll discover that in every major religion you’ll find similar teachings.  Bottom line, it’s here… the same sort of belief system is there.  And those are the roots of every culture, but they’ve been applied according to the needs of the individual culture. That’s why differing belief systems cannot be adopted in toto by all people of the world.  There are completely different need factors, completely different cultural and environmental factors, and all of these are not going to be exactly the same all over the world.

The Eastern teachings state that all of this (world) is an illusion.  Distance and space is an illusion.  That all of it is something that does not have to be. We are told to purify ourselves to the point that it will not exist for us, this world of ours. I looked and looked at that and, you know, I have the advantage and disadvantage of being an astrologer. The advantage is that I get to study things from a slightly different perspective. To me, that’s very helpful. The disadvantage is that I have to be careful not to condition all my thinking processes by what is astrological, because I do a lot of studying in that particular field.

One of the things that caused me to do a lot of thinking about Maya and Illusion (and I’ve heard a lot of things in this area in the past ten or eleven years) is the fact that those darned planets were out there circling long before I was born or anyone else was born, or even that there was any kind of life on this earth.  For, as far as we can tell, the Solar System was just sort of born spontaneously, all during one period.  And these things were flung off into space, and there may be some variations in the orbits and in the cooling-down process and the evolutionary process, long before there was life on this earth. Nobody set up the time factor, nobody human that I know of.  All we did was measure what already existed.  We tried to find ways of placing it in frames of reference that we could understand.  So time and space having meaning for us, but it may not have much meaning on other levels.  It may have no meaning on other levels.  But I don’t think it’s a total trap or illusion for us.  It’s something that we have determined as a frame of reference.  We have to think in terms of leaps and jumps; i.e., we find it hard to think in terms of the whole thing.  We’re growing toward that.  We’re trying to grow to the point where we can see the whole picture.  When we can do that, perhaps we’ll eliminate the need for time and space concepts. But for right now, it’s a convenient frame of reference for us, because we can’t use the whole picture.

That does not make it exactly an illusion, because in order for it to be an illusion, it would not have really ever existed.  We came into an already-existent Solar System, an already-existent cyclic happening which we chose to measure.  I don’t see how in the world you could conclude that’s a total illusion.  An illusion (to me) is something that never really existed in the first place, that you sort of conjured up or accepted on hearsay. We would have to totally eliminate any concept of there being a Solar System, or galaxies, or anything you want to name. We’d have to eliminate the possibility of anything out there. If we follow the meaning of the word “illusion” to its ultimate end, if all of this is illusion, then none of us could exist either. We would be non-existent.

So you sit down and say to yourself, “Is it illusion, or isn’t it illusion?”  I think that where dichotomy enters between Eastern and Western thought on these questions is that the Westerner fails to understand that the physical is not the only reality.  In other words, we’re dealing with a little tiny piece of something. Our mistake is in assuming that this is the whole thing. That’s where we’ve gotten locked in, that’s where the illusion has crept in. I think that’s more the “illusion” than the fact that the whole world doesn’t exist.

COMMENT:  In Western religion, the physicists have taken over much of this area. And they maintain that in the way we see the world, illusion exists in the sense that if you take away the sensual apparatus, it doesn’t exist.

MARILYN:  There are a couple of examples that I want to play with and use, and I will take that into account. I read something very interesting which illustrates exactly what we are talking about. I read that in order for a tree to fall and make a sound, there has to be someone there to hear the sound. Sound is a perception, and we’re dealing with our senses and the distortion of our senses. Unless there is someone or something in the forest to hear the sound, the sound has no meaning. That’s the concept. And yet, if you walk in the forest and see a tree that has fallen, and is covered with termites (so it’s obviously been there a long time), you know that when the tree fell, it must have made a sound. It was alive at one time, and then lightning struck it, or it just rotted away from old age, or some other mishap befell it. So we can look around us and see all these things which occurred without our participation. I think we can agree with this particular conclusion. This is real to us, right now, in terms of experience. This is happening, this is solid to us. We have chosen a dense physical state in order to have this experience. And perhaps we have created a very solid illusion for ourselves. But if you follow the concept of illusion to its ultimate absurdity, then all of it is illusion, including the discussion we’re having.

This is the sort of thing that I was contemplating for some time.  Is this some form of reality or is it really all an illusion?  I  don’t think it really matters. I think it’s another one of those things like, “What is God?” Or my favorite sentence, “Why do we continue to define God in terms of or ignorance?”  Why does a finite mind try to comprehend something that’s infinite?  It’s something that I gave up a long time           ago, because I know no matter how hard I try, I’m never going to be able to figure out what God is. Because as soon as I get to this level, I’m aware that there’s a whole level that I haven’t even looked at yet. So, it’s going to be one of those continuous processes, which keeps on growing, and I may never be able to totally define God. If I could totally define It, It would be a Finite Being. The instant that I can totally define something, it has limitations. And if I’m starting out by saying that I’m dealing with a Creative Principle, then I’m not going to be able to define it. Somewhere along the line, I said to myself, “It’s going to be one of those things wherein every time you find an answer, you find more questions.”

That’s true in Metaphysics. Every time you  find an answer, it opens up at least five more questions. So you never really find all the answers. You find little bits and pieces, and you think, “Wow, I thought this was the whole thing!”  Pandora’s box got opened up for me when I came to this conclusion. Then I thought, “Yes, but… what if…”  It was going to be an ongoing search, so I said to myself, “Okay, head, there’s no sense complaining about these things.  You’re not going to figure it out anyway.”  And if I figured it out on this level, I went to the next level, and I had to start all over again. So I thought, “Okay, let that one go!”

Then I started to play with the “illusion” concept. Why have we, particularly the people in this room, chosen to experience this particular illusion?  What was our purpose for creating dense physical experiences which we could all join by participating?  I don’t happen to think that any of this is a coincidence. The right people are in the room at the right time, because there’s something that happens with the uniting of our energies which produces something that we all need. It may be a simple thought. If it be beneficent, for only one person in that room, and only one person goes away with renewed insight, that particular person had to be present for a particular thing to occur. This does not mean that it was a random thing or that it was a total waste of time for the rest. Somebody, somewhere, is getting some value out of it or it wouldn’t occur.  It’s an exchange of energy at some point. If you weren’t here, you’d be somewhere else exchanging energy that you had agreed to exchange that may or may not benefit you at that particular time or may not benefit the other person at that particular time.

So, to the extent that we have agreed to participate in the world, it is reality. As to whether or not it is really an illusion, I think that it’s all, eventually, somewhere, an illusion. But I think that to keep saying to yourself, “This is an illusion,” as you walk into a wall, is a bit of a rough thing to do to your physical body. The fact is that you have to live in this particular illusion, and it seems rather dense. If I  could manage to convince myself that it is an illusion, I could walk right through the wall.  But I could knock myself senseless the first few times I tried it if I didn’t have my head solidly put together.

COMMENT:  {Largely unintelligible, and in any case, not pertinent to the discussion.}

MARILYN:  I’m trying to get us to the point where we can deal with the distortion that we have in our senses. The whole purpose of what we’re doing is to bring ourselves back around to the distortions that we’re dealing with here. The concept of “illusion”, if you take it in the purest terms, means that none of this is real basically anyway, for whatever reasons. I prefer to think that we’re all here for a purpose, a reason. Whether we can define if we are real or we are not real, if we pinch ourselves, it hurts. To all intents and purposes, we are real. But we may have created these particular forms in order to experience something in particular. Since there are a bunch of us participating, we all contributed some sort of willingness to plumb what we call this particular type of “reality”.  I think the danger is in believing that it’s the only brand, the only form, of reality.

I’ve got to go back to one point.  We talked about the fact that even the ocean, coming in and flowing out from the beach, is not going to make any particular sound that’s noticeable unless there’s someone there to observe this sound. The sound itself has no value.  It is resultant of the ocean’s surging in and out. Unless there is a person there, there’s going to be nothing aware enough to realize that there is sound. So, it’s our perception of what’s going on that we specify as the sound of the ocean surging. The same thing is happening to us visually.  I’m sure that all of you have seen optical illusions, sort of geometric patterns which shift before your eyes as you look at them. You’ll look and the picture seems to be of stairs going this way, and if you keep staring, the stairs seem to be going the other way. Or it will look like all the diagonals are pointing in one direction, and if you sit there and look at them, they all seem to point in the opposite direction. It’s an optical illusion. All sorts of optical illusions are going on all the time.

We get so used to dealing with a totally physical universe, that distortion comes in believing that this is all there is. The best example I can use is that of the “aura”. Almost everyone here has had the opportunity to know what an aura is. One of the words for aura is “surround”.  That really covers it. We are basically an energy field.  We are an electromagnetic energy field, and our field extends two-and-a-half to three feet all the way around us. Essentially, we are more than just this physical body. Actually, we are this physical body and several others which metaphysicians call “subtle” bodies, and most of these are contained within the auric field.  There is probably much beyond that, but that’s as much as seems to be visible at this particular time.  When someone shows you how to, you can see the aura very easily.  The aura’s not difficult to see, or at least the beginning edges of it.  So you may not see the full aura right off, but you can start to see that there is more to a human being than just this nice old solid, physical wall that you run into. There are other levels, other perceptions.  It is possible to get beyond the physical limitation, to start seeing things on an extended basis.

What I think we want to deal with, and what I think this whole sense distortion thing was about is that we have a tendency to limit and contain ourselves totally by the physical level, by what we can touch, smell, hear, or taste; i.e., we want more tangibility. Ninety-five percent of the population of the world find the sum total of their world based on these physical perceptions.

I think when we first started talking about Basic Education, I said that the human brain runs between two-and-a-half to three pounds in weight. It’s not very big. Think of like an octopus that has five tentacles.  The five tentacles are our five senses. The problem is, as I said, ninety-five percent of the population has the tendency to place its total experience value on what’s fed into them by this 2 1/2-pound ball of gray matter, and accept information only from those five senses.

There’s a lot of difference in the way people perceive things through the sense of touch. If you find somebody who has sensitive fingers, for instance, he may touch just very lightly. When we went to a rock and gem show three years ago, I was watching all the psychics at the show. All of them were there.  They were the people who were going over the gems with their fingers about two inches above the stones. You could tell that there was a whole raft of psychics there. All you had to do was watch the tables. You could see everybody picking up things.  Those were the non-psychics. The psychics were sending their sense, “I’ll feel over here, and when it grabs me, that’s my stone!”  We were at the Palm Beach Auditorium, and it is huge. The whole place was filled.  You could pick out every person who was in this field, and none of them was physically touching anything.

So, what had they done to themselves… what had they allowed? Extended their sense of touch.  They stopped believing that the sensory input had to be physical. “I must touch it in order to get an impression.”  If you walk into a room and you sense, “Whoops, something’s not right here.  There’s a fight going on!”  What organs of sense are you using?  Touch. You’re not physically touching. You’re doing it in a subtler part of yourself.  You’re “feeling” people.

One of my favorite stories is about a man that I met. By the way, he called me this past week, and butter would not melt in that man’s mouth!  I met him about seven years ago.  I should say I stumbled into him.  I was supposed to be doing some work in a trailer, and I had my own key.  I was supposed to be doing some library work.  I opened the door and there stood a man. He wasn’t supposed to be there, and it just startled the heck out of me, because I wasn’t expecting anyone to be there. I said, “Hi!  Who are you?”  He told me his name and told me he was staying there right then. And I said, “So-and-so hadn’t told me.  I’m Marilyn Muir.”  I went to stick out my hand, and as this man’s hand started to come toward me, I wanted to say, “Oooh, don’t touch me!”  It was like everything in me did not want that man to come anywhere near me or touch me.  I had stuck out my hand to say, “How do you do,” but as I entered his field it was like, “Whoops, get away, don’t touch me!”  I had not physically touched him at that point. So what was happening was not a physical perception. It was a non-physical perception, coming through the physical organism, but it was an extension of a particular sense. 

How many times have you (I did it Sunday) started to drive somewhere and smell something that wasn’t in the car at all?  I started to drive my car last Sunday and all I could smell was green peppers. You know, stuffed peppers, in a closed car.  And I knew what I wanted for dinner – stuffed peppers!  I didn’t know exactly where to go get them, but definitely, the smell was right there.  I didn’t taste it, I smelled it. How the heck do you smell stuffed peppers in a closed car?  It’s not like perfume.  It’s hardly a scent someone would wear. Stuffed peppers have a unique odor and it’s not one anyone would wear deliberately. This is an extension of the physical sense of smell. In other words, I was identifying with some other level.  There’s no way I could have done it on a purely physical level. There is no way that the small of stuffed peppers could have been in that car. So, what did I do? I really smelled it. As I say it, I can still smell it. So, I was tuning in, or using the sense of smell, but not in a physical way as would be provided by a physical happening.

I’m sure there have been times when you have awakened from dreams, or that you’ve even had waking dreams (daydreams) where you could swear that you smelled something, or you were some place, because it was just as vivid as if you’d actually been there. That is an extension of the physical sense of smell or one of the other senses, not happening on a physical reality level.  You can do that with the eyesight.  We just talked about seeing the aura. But you can feel the aura, you can sense it, this way {gesturing outlining the body with the hands}. You can taste things. How many times have you awakened with a weird taste in your mouth? And you say to yourself, “What is it, stomach gas, or what in the heck is this?”  Or, you’ve just been out somewhere in your dreams and actually started to salivate because there was something that you thought of that started making you have all sorts of physical reactions. And yet you didn’t have the thing in your mouth. You could taste it, just the same as you could smell it.

COMMENT:  It’s like thinking of a lemon.  Your mouth will water.

MARILYN:  If I say to you, “Suck on a lemon!”  Just sit there and think of a lemon, think of cutting it, what it looks like, think of putting some in your mouth.  Your salivary glands will start working, and it’s not that you’ve done anything physically. Think of something else if you want to get rid of the lemon… asparagus, maybe.

What you need to recognize is that you are experiencing through a physical sense a non-physical thing.  Which means that we’ve got to stop limiting ourselves, basing all of our conclusions strictly on physical perception.

How many of you have heard your name called when there was nobody there?  You know, you do one of these things {looking around her shoulder}, and you’re saying to yourself, “Oh, my God!”  Once I had a cat get in my lap, and there was no cat.  There was a depression in my lap, and the warmth, and the whole thing. And I thought, “Oh, dear!”  That’s how I got talking to trees down in Miami.  I had a tree calling my name. It very definitely got my attention. When you’re standing out in the  middle of the woods and a tree calls your name out loud, it gets your attention real fast. It also scares the heck out of you. Especially when it’s not been on your list of things to do.

The thing is that if you were going to bill yourself as a psychic or a sensitive, or whatever label you want to put on it, sometimes you hear things.  And you hear non-physical things.  You hear them sometimes inside your head, and sometimes it sounds like you’re hearing them from outside your head. It can happen either way.  Same type of thing.  I have had voices talk inside my head, and talk outside of my head. Not often, when I’m least expecting it. I don’t seem to be able to do it at will. If I could do it at will, I would become a psychic. It has occurred, but not at will. It is not being produced by any physical agency; it is not being produced by human means, on a physical level, from a physical body. What is it?

The reason I’m using all these examples is so that you can understand that the danger does not come from using the physical senses.  The danger does not come from a physical world and participating in a physical experience.  The danger comes from determining that’s the reality, the only reality! That’s where the distortion comes in. It does not happen because we reach out and touch somebody. That is not the problem. The problem comes by believing that’s the only way we can experience the person. Distortion is not that we have to participate on this level, an experience level.  That’s fine! The distortion comes in when we’re limited to that. When we say, “This is it.  This is all there can be!”

Ninety-five percent of the population is doing that. And, by the way, that’s a pretty big percentage. I think it’s relatively accurate to say that 2% are leaders, 3% are followers, and the rest of them don’t have the foggiest idea of what’s going on. That’s an old truism. If you sat down and you just sampled Fort Lauderdale, you’d discover that you live in a 5% minority  of people who are willing to realize that there’s something beyond physical perception. The illusion, then, becomes complete for 95% of the people. They live totally in an illusion.  They are totally fenced in and trapped in this illusion. The illusion hasn’t to do with whether or not the physical is a reality level. I happen to think that it’s as valid a level as any other level. But how can you say that some level of God is more important than any other level? You’d be saying that some piece of God has less importance than some other piece of God. If you stop and think about an all-creative force, that statement doesn’t make any sense. There’s no logic to that. So, the physical experience apparently has its value. The problem comes in limiting reality to that.

I was sitting in the back yesterday, reading, and thinking about the fact that I had to do this class on Sense Distortion, and hadn’t the foggiest idea of what I was going to talk about. I was clipping out stuff and doing all sorts of things that had nothing to do with the class, and thinking, “Where the heck am I supposed to find all this wonderful information I’m supposed to come up with tomorrow night?”  And the question came to my mind, “Why did God do all of this in the first place? Why is there physical experience? Why is there some sort of constant exchange going on? Why have we agreed to get together and do this thing on a physical, mental and emotional level, and all the rest of it. Why is all of this going on?”  If God is a perfect Being, capable of all things, is all things, what do we need to do all of this for? What in heck is the purpose of all of this? My idea of God, I think, is comprehensive and open-ended. I keep it open-ended because it got too darn confusing to redefine God every time I learned something new. Why do you suppose it’s occurred? The answer came through, and it’s so simple! It’s something you’ve heard before, but it really explained to  me why this all occurred.

Will all of you just put your hands up? I want you to clap with one hand. You’re not allowed to use both hands. Stop and think about the sentence, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

What is God going to do by Himself? Why did God create something? To experience Himself.

And I was sitting there, thinking, “This is an interesting concept.”  For such a long time, I had been thinking that if God were perfect and God can do all these things, what do we need to do all of this for? What’s the purpose of it? If you think of an all-inclusive Creative Principle, that is all things within itself, essentially it must get boring after a while. Since it gets boring, He creates something so that He may see Himself reflected in it. He may get something, because from the sound of this hand doing absolutely nothing, He has created something that He can participate in, even in fragments. I think it would be very difficult for Him to create another totality.  It would also create a duality, instantly. So, instead of doing that, it’s like a fragmentation.  It’s like experiencing Himself, but experiencing Himself in fragments. All that is is God, all that is has the potential of the God, and all God is doing is experiencing. That’s because to be up there and just be one Him, to have no mate, to have nothing to reflect off of, to participate in, would be soundless, and would have no value. God is a Creative Principle, and a Creative Principle needs to create. That is one of the definitions of God.

Supposedly, the Creation occurs in pulsations. In other words, the Creative Aspect is not always creating. The Creative Aspect creates, and withdraws, and creates and withdraws like a pulsation. You can think of that, if you want, in terms of energy exploding and creating Universes, or Black Holes getting so filled up that they’ve got to have some place to go, or any sort of definitions you want, the Big Bang Theory. Essentially, what’s occurring is that Totality decided to manifest. The Unmanifest decided to manifest. In manifesting, it created many levels, and we’re on one, a level, having an experience. To the extent that we’re participating jointly in an experience, the illusion comes in when we say it’s the only reality.

COMMENT: I don’t recall where I heard this story, but it has to do with some people who were in Heaven, and they were trying to eat with very long spoons. The spoons were too long to feed themselves with, so the bad people couldn’t eat, but the good people were feeding each other. Do you know what I mean?

MARILYN:  I get the analogy. Okay. Essentially, the problem that we have on this level is duality. We see everything in the sense of separateness. We see everything in terms of “self” and “not-self”.  Something other than “self”. Not-self is the easiest way to define it. We are so entrapped in this particular mode of thinking, that that’s where our problem comes in. That’s why it’s a dog-eat-dog type of world. What we’re attempting to do is remove the sense of “separative-ness” on this level, to recognize that we are all part of a functioning entity and that as we start to expand out from our center, we merge into everything else that exists.

From here, that’s not an easy thing to do, because if you look around, just at what you see, you look like you have physical limits. So, it’s very easy to maintain a sense of separativeness as far as our identity is concerned. We all value our separateness. It’s encouraged in a lot of instances. As long as the sense of duality or separativeness occurs, we will never really get by the need for this particular level of existence. This particular level satisfied that particular need very well.  It perpetuated it. It’s when we get by the need to be totally unique, totally individual, totally ourselves and separate from anything else, that we start to break out of the duality level, into the next level, which is called the “unity” level.

In this particular field, there is some confusion relative to being a “light worker”. We are all light workers.  If you’re studying in this field at all, you’re classified in the general field called “light workers”.  That is the plane of duality, a level of duality, the polar opposite. Yin and Yang, hot and cold, left and right, male and female, you name it, this particular level has to do with learning the lessons which are duality. When you learn the lesson of duality, you recognize it’s all polarity. I realize that it sounds as if I’m saying the same thing, but it’s not the same thing.  Duality and polarity are not the same thing. Duality implies that Point A and Point B are two separate things. That’s separativeness.  Duality is separativeness. So, duality must foster our sense of separativeness, because it assumes that Point A and Point B are not related.  Polarity, on the other hand, says that Point A is one end of the stick and Point B is the other end of the stick, and that you really can’t have one without the other. It’s not possible to have Point A unless Point B also exists, the flip side of the thing, as it were. So, learning the difference between duality and polarity is going to help us achieve understanding, once we understand that it’s all one unit instead of two separate things. Eventually, we’re going to understand that duality itself is a unity.

I’ve got a series of four hundred lectures which are really interesting. I’ve not read all of them yet, however, and they get into what they call “synthetic triangles”.  One of the things brought out is that in using the words “masculine” and “feminine”, if we had duality going, the third part of this “triangle” would be “hermaphrodite”.  See what happens?  If we’ve got a masculine and a feminine, and we blend it, and maintain a sense of duality or separativeness, we have a being that is neither totally male nor totally female. It is both, and therefore, it is a hermaphrodite. That’s what it’s called, half man and half woman. I had the dubious pleasure when I was eighteen years old to be taken to a circus sideshow and actually seeing one on display. I was highly embarrassed and just about died! I’m not too keen on displaying myself as it is, but I doubt that if I had such a condition, I’d get in front of a crowd.

Now, instead of making it a duality or separativeness-type of principle, even though we’ve blended it, we still retain the masculine and feminine images, we’re still saying that this is some sort of duality. Let’s take it the other way. If we take it the other way, we realize that the masculine and feminine is a polarity, and part of a unity principle instead of a separative one.  We still retain some sense of duality or separatism, because it is a male / female (generally one is more pronounced), or an androgynous being, which is what philosophers feel mankind is working toward.  Eventually we are to become androgynous, which means that we have all the masculine and feminine traits within us.  We are all totally a combination of the two, without a sense of separativeness. An androgynous being couples all of the traits as a completed factor – it is no longer in any way distorted. The hermaphrodite that I saw had a breast on one side only. It was not a completed being. It’s a state that’s still distorted, still but on a separatist type of principle. It is not a totally developed state. If we were able to blend the masculine and feminine principles totally and build a unity out of it, we would produce that which they say we will evolve toward – an androgynous, completed being, combining the highest traits of both maleness and femaleness.

If we carry this even further, we need to recognize that right now what we’re working on is a sense of what’s called the Age of Aquarius, where we’re attempting to build a world brotherhood, a sense that all of us are brothers, without a sense of separation between the races, between the religions. All humankind is literally going to be blended into one super race, the race of Man, not Polacks or Jews, Irish Catholics, etc. – i.e., no division.

What we’re working for in the Age of Aquarius is attempting to recognize the individuality of each person and his contribution to the group as a whole. That’s the Aquarian principle. There’s a higher principle.  The principle that we are one with Nature, not just our own species, but with all the other species which inhabit our world. So, if we become humanitarians, we still are completing only a part of what we must learn. We are one with Nature itself. When we learn that, then we need to learn that we are one with Life itself. And once we get to that spot, how much do you want to bet that there’s another level? In other words, I could give you gradations as I understand it from here, but each time I climb higher in my own consciousness, I’m going to be able to see a slightly higher level. So, I can tell you where I’m at right now, but when we get beyond the Universe, I don’t know what’s there, but I’m sure there is something there. When I’m high enough, I’ll be able to see it.  I can’t see it from right here, but I know it’s there.

What we need to recognize is the distortion that has been built into us from the physical level.  This is where we’re caught. This is where at least 95% of the people are under the delusion.   That’s it.  That’s as much as they know. They are caught in this illusion. They are caught in this dilemma of believing that this is the only reality. They believe this is the only reality.  If you say to them, “This is an illusion,” they’ll take you out to the booby hatch. They think, “I may not like it, but this is what I’ve got.”  It’s the two or three percent, let’s collect them and say five percent, who are attempting to work toward a new and expanded understanding, away from a sense of separative-ness and building more unity within themselves. Now, they may go three steps forward and two steps backward.  That’s one way to grow. As close as I can tell, across the board, you’re going to go three steps forward and two steps backward.  It’s going to be a royal pain in the neck, but you’re eventually going to get there. When we get done with this level, I think it’s like taking the next stair-step up and saying, “Oh, no, here we go again! I’ve got a whole new level to work on!”

The Guides said they wanted this class taught this way, so you understand, it is a case of climbing those stairs one step at a time. It’s not as if you could totally line one thing on top of the other and expect to make it all the way to the top, because if you’re carrying all that weight… I’ll just draw this little stick person down here. You can’t expect to pile all these layers on yourself and expect to plow through the whole thing at one time. What the Guides are saying is, build it a layer at a time and then you can actually climb and grow and not be carrying the whole thing on your back at the same time.

Now, the problem with this is that we’re dealing with a form of reality which has been arrested.  It is an illusion of sorts. It is an illusion to ignore it. If you ignore it, you’re still going to be caught by it, because you’ve made the choice to come here and have the experience, and it’s silly to ignore the experience. So, if you say to yourself, “This is all an illusion; I don’t have to participate in it,” I would just like to follow you for an hour as you choose not to participate. I really would like to watch that. It would be very interesting, and it would teach us a whole lot. If you say to yourself, “This is real,” then you create a different form of illusion. This is one of those cases where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. “Well, which way do I want to choose it.  Do I want this to be a reality or an illusion?” I think the idea is to recognize the trap in the beginning. If you declare this to be a reality, then you’re trapped. And you’re in the trap with 95% of the population. If you’re perhaps in 2% of the population, believing that it’s an illusion, you’re in a different kind of trap. The name of the trap is now “illusion” instead of “reality”.

But if you’re sort of saying to yourself, “Now, wait a minute.  It’s got to be one or the other!”  Why?

I think the trap is that you need to think it has to be either reality or illusion, but I think they’re both traps. And so, in order not to be trapped, you need to stand back and look at the two little boxes {diagrams on the blackboard}. One says “reality” and the other one says “illusion”. Fall into either one of them and you’re trapped.

So, what you want to do is say, “Well, this is an illusion of reality,” or “In reality, this is an illusion!” But in order not to fall into the trap, you’ve got to recognize that both sides are a trap.  You’ve got to look at it and say, “If I believe that this is Reality, I have now limited myself to the extent that I have to participate in this Reality. If I look at this whole thing and say, “It’s an illusion.  It doesn’t exist,” then you walk into a different kind of trap, a trap with a different name. Because now you’re choosing to ignore an experience you’ve placed yourself in. You’ve placed yourself in a concrete physical experience.  You must have had some reason for doing so. Let’s just say we don’t particularly like the Reality trap, and let’s just say apparently, we decided to walk into it, because, “Hi, guys, I can see you.  You’re all here with me.” Apparently, we’ve all agreed to participate in some sort of Reality trap. Now, we have to remain trapped by it only as long as we choose to ignore the fact that it’s a trap. The minute we say to ourselves, “Wait a minute.  That’s a trap,” we’re no longer really trapped.

If I am standing on this physical level and I am declaring that it is all an illusion, and it has no purpose, I’m in a different form of trap. I’m in the form of trap which says, “I choose to ignore the experience I chose for myself. I’m not going to participate.”

When I first got into this field, eleven years ago, I started to do automatic writing, reams of it, a lot of stuff that did not make any sense at all to me. I spent the longest time trying to figure out what I was getting this stuff for if it didn’t make any sense to me? And a lot of the stuff that I got had to do with these levels, all of these thinking levels. I was so green that 95% of what I got went right over my head. Now I can sit back and see where these messages were trying to take me. They were trying to take me beyond looking at things at a strictly physical level, trying to help me lift my sights a little higher, and to recognize that I could go into other levels of thought, other experiences.

So, the “reality” trap has to do with thinking, “This is it.  That is all there is!”  The “illusion” trap has to do with thinking that none of this is real.

When I first started to get the automatic writing, I was told that I had all of these things to do. I was told I was supposed to be a teacher. I was told eleven years ago that I was supposed to be a minister. I thought the whole thing was very funny. I thought it was just crazy. I had been divorced, I had four kids, couldn’t make ends meet financially, and I’m going to become a minister? Something I know nothing about? I thought the whole thing was very funny… eleven years ago!

COMMENT:  Did this influence you?

MARILYN:  The thing is that in no way did I set out to do the things I had been told I would do.  I did not set out deliberately to do any of them. In fact, I thought the whole thing was hilarious. If anything, I went a whole different route that had nothing to do with any of the things I was told I was going to have to do. I didn’t decide to deliberately confront Spirit and say, “Forget it, I’m not going to do any of this.” I just had other things on my mind, like raising children, and all the rest of the stuff. I went to school for Real Estate. I went the long way around, and wound up being what I was going to be anyway, and that’s because there was a natural progression into the experience that was chosen.

I asked why they thought I was going to do all of this, the occult stuff.  I asked, “If you want all of this done, why don’t you pick somebody who’s been really religious, really knows what they’re doing, and can turn around and serve mankind, somebody who’s sort of devoted their life to all this sort of thing?” And the answer was (and remember that I was totally green when I got all of this) that in order for a person of the world to understand these teachings, it has to be explained to them by a person who understands the world. If you sit on a mountaintop, and you don’t face reality as people have to deal with it down here, you cannot really find a way to deal with their day-to-day problems.

I thought, “Of all the stuff that I’m supposed to do, how come they didn’t pick someone who’s much more highly educated, much more religious, ”spiritual”, because I was not really that spiritual. I don’t consider myself that spiritual now. The remark was “that if you want to teach someone on this level, you need the experiences to teach with at this level.” A person whose experiences were totally unrelated to those of ordinary everyday-type people could not teach this type of person. He would not know what their problems were, and even if he did, would probably not be understood.

So, essentially, what I was told was, “Get down there and participate.  There’s a reason for this. There’s a particular reason for this, because it’s more useful to have people teaching who have experience than people who are totally unworldly.”

In the Astrology course which I teach, we talk about the fact that you plan your life just as you’d like it to be, but that the reality is a little different from the theory. Somehow or other, when you sit here and dream up all these wonderful things you’re going to do, you cannot foresee in which directions life will take you. It’s difficult to take a person who’s been on the side of a mountain for forty years and bring them down and say, “Help this person!” They don’t have the experience to know the internal motivation of these people.

Do you recall the sentence of Jesus to the effect that you must learn to be in the world but not of it? Stop and think about what’s being said. We don’t have to walk away from reality, but we have to remember who we are. We have to participate in life, we can’t ignore it! We can’t walk away from this reality we’ve all agreed to participate in. But at the same time we don’t want to allow ourselves to be trapped by it. We want to recognize that it’s only one of many possible levels. This is an experience out of many possible experiences. But you don’t want to fall into the other trap. The other trap is a trap, it just has a different label on it.

A long time ago, I said that it was hard to try to walk with a foot in each world. We’re attempting to do this. We’re attempting to deal with physical reality while remembering that it is a creative experience that we’ve chosen to participate in. So you have to walk with one foot in this box, and the other foot in this box {pointing to the diagram on the blackboard} and not get caught in either trap. So you’ve got to walk with a foot in each trap, and not get trapped, a foot in reality and a foot that goes up to Spirit!

I went through the same growing pains that everybody else is going through. I just happened to go through them ten years ago. And I thought that in order to be “spiritual”, I had to renounce all physical and material pleasures. You know, God would provide. I lived at a subsistence level.  I was one step away from starvation. I never really starved, never really went hungry, but I never had any money either.  But that was okay, because I was working on my spiritual growth, etc.  I did all of that.  I even tried to go celibate a couple of times, which was a little rugged when you’re young and a Scorpio. And I tried to go that whole route, and I tried to “spiritualize” myself.  I’m not really a Bible-pounder or anything like that, but I’m very studious. I really do like to read, and absorb knowledge, and philosophize.

I decided that in order to become really spiritual, I could not hang around with ordinary mundane people; I had to surround myself with “higher minds”, people who were “spiritually advanced”. I really did all of it. And I didn’t do it any differently than anyone else has. I’m a pretty normal example of all of this. I didn’t do it all at one time, but I kept falling into this trap. The problem was that when I surrounded myself with all these “spiritual” people, I discovered that they were just as screwed up as everybody else was. If anything, in their own way, they were just as materialistic as anyone else. It’s just that they were even sneakier in how they disguised their materialism. I discovered that instead of just blatantly grabbing someone physically, they would have great, wonderful, esoteric reasons for grabbing them – Tantra type of Yoga, which is the Yoga of Physical Union, which was going to be a “subliminal” experience.

So all I did was get a different set of labels for the same thing. It took me a little while to catch on. And it also took me a while to realize that (and it was Science of Mind that helped me) I didn’t have to live on a poverty level. The right passages out of the Bible, instead of the wrong ones, said I could have anything I wanted. I had been reading all this stuff that says you’ve got to live at the subsistence level and God will provide for you, but there are a whole set of passages that say, “God gave you life, and gave it to you abundantly!”

So, somewhere along the line, I started to recognize a couple of traps. One of the traps is thinking that if you live a physical, material type of existence, you’re not being spiritual. It has nothing to do with being spiritual. And anytime you have anyone walk up to you and say, “I’m a very spiritual person,” you know they’ve got a problem. They’ve got a worse problem than some nut who runs around and says, “You know, I really screw things up all the time!”  At least, the latter is being a little realistic in recognizing where they are, while the one who really believes that he is a very spiritual being is caught in a trap he’s created for himself, because “spirituality” is a big a trap as physical reality is. Remember, we said that money is not the root of all evil, that it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil. What are we dealing with?  Attitude!  Perception!

About two years, I sat in at a meeting of metaphysical people.  There were about a hundred of us there. And this nut stood up and said, “I think anybody who charges for a reading or charges for counseling is a rip-off artist and is greedy, etc. And it’s all supposed to be done for free, because Jesus said, “Take only the shoes which you have on your feet, and don’t take a change of clothing. Everything will be provided for you. ” And I sat there and I thought, “You know, like everybody else, I have this thing about eating and sleeping under a roof, showering and wearing clothes occasionally, and there is nothing wrong with my earning a living – not a greedy living, but a living. There is nothing wrong with my having nice things like you have.” But you have to realize that it was from that person’s point of view, that if you take something out of life you are not being spiritual. 

From my point of view, if you take something out of life that hurts another human being, that’s not a particularly spiritual action on your part. But since I can’t separate you from Spirit, I can’t separate you from the Source, ever, there’s no way I can make you non-spiritual!  I can consider a particular action that you’ve taken as being non-spiritually motivated, but, essentially, everybody is spiritual. We just happen to be participating in a physical level of experience. But there’s no way we can become non-spiritual beings. How the heck can you run into someone who’s highly spiritual? We’re all highly spiritual. We’re all just as spiritual as everyone else. Some of our actions are not too spiritual, but I am not my actions. I have done a particular action at a particular time that came about because of a particular set of circumstances. I cannot become a non-spirit, because I cannot be separated from the whole. As long as I maintain my separate identity, I’m going to continue to participate in this kind of experience.

I think that in order for us to solve the dilemma that we’re dealing with here on this level, we have to constantly remember to operate with one foot in Reality and the other foot in Illusion. These are the names of the two traps. I don’t think that we need to be trapped by either one.  What we need to do is to recognize the value of both, without isolating them and saying, “This one is right and this one is wrong.” And I think you can just walk around and watch the traps. In order to get caught in the reality trap, you have to rely only on the five physical senses. In order to get caught in the illusion trap, you have to declare that the whole thing doesn’t exist, refuse to participate in it, and then you’ll get carted off to the funny farm!

In the last day or so I read an article I saw in the “Mandalama Journal”, about eight pages, having to do with Self-Realization. It’s written by a psychologist, and in it he’s talking about people who participate in Self-Realization experiences. But partial Self-Realization – in other words, where you have an enlightenment or an awakening. He says that people who lost touch with their reality base, who throw themselves totally into that end of the experiment, refuse to participate in physical life, have a greater chance of having mental or psychological breakdowns than if they had stayed in reality.

While spiritual development is something that we would encourage in people, it can be encouraged only from the standpoint of keeping yourself anchored. Don’t refuse to participate in life. Operating on either end and not working with a composite whole, you’re in trouble. If you deal strictly on the reality level, if you do as members of our Western culture have done, you develop a technological, materially successful type of society, which has a real problem with their world and ethical values system. Because they’ve forgotten to develop that side of their nature. If you get into the Eastern-based philosophy of “all this is illusion”, you’re in just as bad trouble. But if you can take the best of both, the reality and the illusion, and recognize that each has its own value, you keep the right perspective.

But I don’t think you’re going to get caught in the trap. I think you’re going to start dealing with losing the sense of duality and starting to build in a sense of unity. Instead of dealing with two separate segments, you would be dealing with drawing them together and making them a unified principle.

Look at yourself, any part of yourself, anything you want to look at. Look at your hand, look at your blouse.  Every front has a back.  Everything that exists at our level is based on a duality principle.  That means that we need to study the principle of duality.  We need to recognize the sense of separativeness that’s inherent in the principle, but not get trapped by the sense of separateness. I cannot be separated from this not-self. I can think I am, but essentially, I cannot be separated from it, because whatever I am has a matching side. Whatever I am has a back or a front as a flip side. I will run into problems if I continue to have a sense of separative-ness between the two. This is not an easy thing to learn.  It takes a while to learn it. One day it can just click.  You get the right information in and it sort of correlates with everything else you know. But until that time, we have to go in stages. Does anyone have a question?  Where to you think you’re at?  Which box do you think you’re walking around in?

COMMENT: I think I’m very practical.  I can have my head in the other place, but when it comes to survival, that’s the only reality.

MARILYN: Okay. But you can recognize the fact that to totally participate in it (reality) without recognizing the other possibilities means that you’re trapped. You’re not really trapped when you’re seeing beyond the one area.

COMMENT: I really don’t feel trapped. My head is over in the “I” box, but my body and my stomach are not sleeping in the rain and walking around barefoot in the “reality” box, where I physically live.

MARILYN: Actually, you’re stating that you’re walking with a foot in both worlds. You step maybe more to the right…

COMMENT: I’m still a whole lot more in the right-hand box {referring to the diagram on the blackboard}. I try to keep a foot in both of them.

COMMENT: I think I’m more in the left-hand box.

MARILYN: She feels she gets into the “illusion” box a little too much. Okay. But, can you recognize the trap consists of being in one to the exclusion of the other? The trap can be avoided by keeping them in perspective. Now, your perspective is going to change. By the time I start a conversation and the time I end it, I can change perspectives. So, I’m saying that this is a constantly shifting pattern. The trap is in excluding one or the other. To state, “This is it!” and not to recognize that it’s a trap. The minute you recognize you’re in a trap, you’ve gone the first step in solving the dilemma of getting out of the trap. Most people don’t even realize they’re trapped. You can’t solve a problem until you know you have a problem. How can you work on a problem unless you say to yourself, “This is not exactly the way I want this!”

Bart, where do you think you’re at?

BART: I think I’m walking at the top of the scale.

MARILYN: Walking at the top of the scale?  Okay.

COMMENT: Shinning up the pole, huh?

MARILYN: God, that would be an awful lot easier than the way we’re doing it, wouldn’t it?  Bart’s working on the pole.  Bart, that’s you {pointing to the blackboard}.

Al, where do you feel you’re at?

AL: I’m in a turmoil.

MARILYN: You’re in a turmoil?

COMMENT: Sliding down the pole into the Reality box.

MARILYN: Well, I think most of us come from the reality, sort of trapped by all the circumstances of our lives, and we think we don’t have choices, and don’t have freedom, and all of these things are working against us.  That’s a “reality” box. Okay. It’s a peculiar Reality box. It’s got its own form of Illusion attached to it, but we’re sort of caught in it. “These are the circumstances, and this is what I must deal with,” we think. It’s a fantasy or imaginative type of thing. I have had some great productive daydreams which have produced some really neat things on a physical level.

Illusion has to do with declaring that none of this is real, or none of this is valuable. All of it is valuable.  All of it has something to teach us. We may not like the lesson, but it was all designed to teach us something.

COMMENT: I’d rather consider the attitude toward the growth of the person. I haven’t been to all the places, but it seems that that’s where I’m headed. I want to see the things I hate as well as the things I want to accept and admire about myself.

MARILYN: Okay. So you feel that you’re not really trapped at this point.

COMMENT: Well, I think that sometimes I can get a little heavy in thinking about the events of the world, but I can get over it.

MARILYN: I think all of us do that. I think we have difficult circumstances that we just have to deal with, and we plow our way through and somehow resolve our dilemmas.

COMMENT: Sometimes it seems a bit harder when you bump into a wall.

MARILYN: Yes. Bart, how about you?

COMMENT: I think I’m pretty much into Reality, but I have jumped head over heels sometimes into Illusion. But right now I’m getting over the Illusion, and Reality is trying to balance it out. The concept is here.  I can see myself balancing out shortly.

MARILYN: As I said, the answer is to see them both for what they are, and to recognize the kind of traps you can breed for yourself. Now, there are about a dozen other traps that I haven’t even thought of yet, or defined in terms of putting them into words. They fall basically into one of those two major categories. 

By the time you leave here (we’ve got one more class), I think that slowly but surely you will have come around to the conclusion that the only thing you are really responsible for is your own growth of awareness. Bottom line, that’s what you’re here for. The growth of your awareness may be dependent on a series of circumstances which you selected for yourself. But essentially what you are here for is to grow individually. We are each of us totally responsible for ourselves. Sometimes we can give away pieces of ourself and let them be responsible for us, and sometimes we can accept responsibility for other people, but essentially what we’re here for is to work on ourselves.

I must have told my Ministry students a hundred times that if you decide to be a minister, or anything else in this field, what you’re doing is satisfying some need inside of you. No matter what it looks like you’re doing for someone else, essentially you are doing it because of some personal need. If you give someone a gift, you do so because it satisfied some need within you.  So if we start off from the premise, “I am doing this for me, then we’re going to retain a healthy attitude.

COMMENT: I heard a joke the other day. A guy stops to help someone fix a flat tire by the side of the road. After it’s fixed, the driver offers the other man a $10 bill. The man refuses it, and the driver says, “I insist that you take this money!” So the first man answers, “Wait a minute.  I have given you something that makes me feel good. If you give me money for it, you’ve bought it back. You’ve bought back that sense of feeling good, and it ain’t for sale!”

MARILYN: That’s an interesting concept. When you walk into this work, altruism, true altruism, doesn’t really enter into it. If you stop and think about it, you’ve done whatever you’ve done because of the feeling of satisfaction it has given you. Whether you allow yourself to be on a guilt trip induced by someone else or not, it creates something in you that satisfies a need you have. So, if you work in this field, whatever you do, you do for yourself. If you remember this, you’ll have a very good attitude (i.e., you won’t lose sight of the bottom line). How much good do you do for another human being in order to satisfy a need that you have?

COMMENT: There must be a difference between a person who does everything to satisfy his own needs selfishly and another who gratifies his needs but at the same time helps others? This is a revolutionary principle, as far as I’m concerned.

MARILYN: Okay. The problem is that if the person who is doing the things totally for himself is following his own growth pattern, and the person who is doing for other people is following his  own growth pattern.  Evolution is being served in exactly the same way in both cases.

COMMENT: I think we all start on the same plane.

MARILYN: Okay. It’s probably necessary for us to express or experience both sides of that. And I think that we are more productive to ourselves when we start making efforts toward our own evolution.  And when we start making a conscious effort toward our own evolution, we have a tendency to include other people, because we realize that we are a part of all things and not just this little separate thing. The man who is evolving but is doing things only for himself is following a separative path. The man who is starting to realize that he is a piece of all of life starts doing things on a sharing basis, because it makes him feel good to do this. He’s starting to move into the Polarity or the Unity of things, and away from the separativeness.

COMMENT: How about the person who has to make a sacrifice in order to make a gift?

MARILYN: If you are truly giving, there is no sense of sacrifice. For instance, how many times has it been asked that if Jesus had been truly divine, why was He crucified? If Jesus was all that capable, if he could do all those wonderful things, why did He let Himself be crucified? Because He looked at the price tag, and it was a price tag He was willing to pay. He did not do it from some sort of misguided sense of sacrifice.  He did it from the standpoint of understanding the principle that was involved, and saying, “The principle is the justification for the act.” I’m sure that in order to have had the impact that this set had on humanity, it had to have been done in that sense. If it had not been done in the right sense, it would not have had the impact it has had. So, essentially, Jesus could not have gotten up on that cross feeling that He was making a sacrifice. It would have had to be freely given. He knew that the physical is only a part of the total, that there is no real sacrifice in giving up the body. If He had not had the right attitude, if the gift had not been given with the right attitude, it would not have had the impact. That doesn’t mean that what He did wasn’t right.  It’s just time for a new shot in the arm. Every two thousand years it’s time for a new shot in the arm.

So, the Second Coming has to be the arrival of the new spiritual impetus, the shot in the arm. There has to be a new spiritual thrust. This is a spiritual thrust from two thousand years ago, and it’s running into seed. The one from two thousand years before Christ ran into seed. And now we can be taken to a slightly higher plane. When you look at what was offered and preached, do you mean to tell me that there is something higher than that? We’re not able to accomplish even that. And this next stage is to show us higher possibilities. In view of the fact that none of us has been able to live up even to the former teachings, the next one ought to be a doozy! Life occurs on a continuously evolving complex of things.

Are there any comments or questions?

COMMENT: We’re not on first base, and now we want to slide into second.


COMMENT: Are you sure that there are only four parts to this?

MARILYN: Yes. The next is “Altruism and Selfishness”.  by the time we are done with this, we should be able to see the trap. We’ve seen pieces of the trap so far.

COMMENT: Will we be able to see the trap on each individual level?

MARILYN: I don’t know. The Guides just said the name of the course was “Illusions of Self”, and the objective was “to see the trap”.  By the end of the course, I want to be able to see the trap, too!

Okay. The next class will be next Tuesday night.

They really mean well, but I’ve been made uncomfortable by people who call me and say, “You’re wonderful. Oh, all this wonderful work that you do!”  I do it because it makes me feel good. Don’t forget to keep yourself anchored. In this field, it’s very easy to succumb to the praise you get from people, because you’re not one of the norm, not one of the average-type people. So people are going to regard you as being a notch or a step up. You want to be careful about seeing yourself that way. Keep yourself in perspective.

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