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!

This has been a very interesting course.  I will have to say that whoever it was who decided in my meditation what was to be done (I don’t know exactly how we’d want to label the guy who gave me these instructions) certainly set up a super-interesting course!  I will share very briefly with you (I won’t go into many details about it), but I think it has something to do with an entity, and I realize that I’m speaking astrologically, except that it came through a non-astrologer.

About a week ago, I received without any warning (I was in my pajamas when it happened), some sort of initiation.  The Being giving the initiation said that it was Mercury – Mercury appearing in a mythological form.  Mercury happens to rule my particular chart astrologically, and the live person doing the initiation doesn’t know anything about astrology.  Why in the world would they have picked that as an association is beyond me.  I thought it was interesting in that the type of thing that we are doing right now is a communications type of thing, an education type of thing, and that is Mercury’s function.  My feeling is that whatever we’ve been doing, we’ve been monkeying around with some guy named Mercury.  It’s the only way I can describe it.

The initiation process was totally impromptu.  It lasted about a minute and a half.  I was here in a housecoat having a cup of coffee at the table with a bunch of people, and it was the furthest thing from anyone’s mind when this lady dropped into trance, without any warning.  And I watched her really drop into trance!  Her whole face went slack, her eyes rolled back, and off she went. And she really went!  So as I was sitting there, the next thing I’m going through is this initiation process, which was a delight – particularly because it was unexpected and partially because I didn’t have the foggiest idea what was going on.  I felt like, “Wow, I may have done something right!”  That was the reaction I had.  You walk around and you do the best you can.

I was reading Buckminster Fuller, and he said, “The only trouble with Spaceship Earth is that it didn’t come with an instruction booklet!”  I can remember looking at that statement and thinking, “That’s what it feels like, to do all this development, and nobody provided you with any kind of instruction booklet.”  You try to do all the right things at all the right times and in all the right places, but you can read seventeen different books and seventeen different sets of instructions on what you’re supposed to be doing, and when you’re all through, you don’t know if you’re right or wrong.

No, when something like that happens, especially something that is not solicited, and something that is done by someone who you know is not into hokeyness or grandstanding or weird stuff, you feel like there’s a reasonable amount of validity to it, and you say, “I’m not quite sure what it was, but I must have done something right!”

So, my feeling is that energy has been operating very strongly in the circle right now.  It has to do with Education.  The basic function of Mercury has to do with communication, transportation, and education.  What we are basically doing is an educational communication facility – we’re doing some heavy thinking!  So, whatever it is we’re up to, apparently, we’re at least heading off on the right track.  I thought that a lot of the material that has been coming down through has been awfully interesting.  A lot of the stuff that’d come out of my mouth has been nothing that’s gone through my head.  It just bypassed my head and came out of my mouth, and I had as much fun learning as you did.  It’s neat to be the teacher up here and get paid for it and be a student at the same time.  I don’t remember doing it quite this way before, but okay!

It seems to be important that what we’re doing is this {writing on blackboard}).  Please remember that this was the part that was trying to get through first.  What was happening was that this was always the way things were done {writing layers on blackboard}, but they wanted this course taught this way {writing steps on blackboard}.  It’s important that we look at this diagram and realize that each step is building on or leading to the next step.  We can do some back tracking, we can switch things around to some degree, but apparently it seemed very important for them to get across to us how limited we were in our thinking, how much the conditioning process had gone into our thinking, how we were basically limited to any fresh input, and programmed, in a sense, to keep buying the same pattern over and over again.

I’m real famous on sayings.  I have an entire notebook, hand-written and with little clipped out sayings, and Lord Tennyson, I think, said, “Why does man think he’s thinking, when he’s only rearranging his old prejudices?”  I just came across that one this week, and I thought, “That’s an interesting way of saying it.”  Because that seems to be what they’re trying to get across.  That in spite of fresh input, fresh information, we need to be constantly reexamining  our bases, the limitations that we’ve already programmed in. We need to get in there and get some of those cleaned out, or at least recognize that there are still limitations on us, so that we don’t run headlong into them. All of the fresh information in the world is not going to do us any good if we keep using the same equipment to process this information.  We keep saying, “Well, this can be, and this can’t be, and this is allowed, and this is not allowed,” if we don’t go back and reexamine that first step. As I said, I did this exactly the way they told me. This is the set of instructions (you’ve all seen it), this is the whole set of instructions for this class. Nothing else happened other than what happened spontaneously in the class. It seemed to be where they really wanted to get started with us.  It seemed to be that they were really very interested in our recognizing that we have all the freedom that we need to be anything that we choose to be, that we have allowed ourselves to be programmed into accepting certain sets of conditions for our life, and saying, “Well, I can’t do this because… ”  Well, that’s not true.  You’re not limited to doing what you’re already doing. It is your choice to do what you’re already doing. It is a price tag you are willing to pay because an alternative price tag is not something you’re willing to pay.

Somewhere along the line, we have to recognize that we have total freedom in accordance with the price tag we’re willing to pay for what. The only exception to this might be if you are physically tied to or riveted to a spot and you cannot physically move yourself, and then my question would be, “What did you do to put yourself in that position?”  Obviously, that, too, must have been some form of choice.  At some point, there was a choice, or you wouldn’t have gotten into that particular position.

What we were building on was not only to open up and not think in terms of the limitations that we have, but also to recognize that essentially our freedom is in our head.  It’s in our attitudes and the way we conduct our lives and make our choices. Until we are aware of this, no amount of new information is going to do us any good. Freedom is not a thing outside of us. So what we’re doing is slowly but surely stripping away, erasing, some of the illusions that we’ve carried our whole lifetime.

A lot of the things that we now consider reactive patterns that are normal and natural to us may be based on false premises, premises that were true and valid when we were six years old, but not necessarily true and valid when we’re forty years old. There has to be shift or change in our thinking. In a lot of instances, we haven’t done that.  Therefore, everything that occurs on a fresh basis is going to be limited by that past experience. And our freedom, therefore, is going to be limited by our reactions. We’re used to doing a thing the same way all the time. So we really can’t discuss freedom until we recognize the limitations  that were placed on us. Somewhere along the line, I think what we were trying to do last week was to start recognizing some of the ways that the distortion creeps into our perception.

One of the things that I didn’t do last week that I would like to bring up now (because it’s a good example of sense distortion) is the story of the six blind men who were asked to describe an elephant. One was given the tail, the other was given the side of the elephant, another was given a leg, and another one was given an ear, another got a trunk, another got a tusk to feel. Each blind man was allowed to touch only the part of the elephant that had been assigned to him. Then each was asked to describe the elephant from his particular perspective. Keep in mind that these were people who couldn’t see.  They could work only with the sense of touch. The one who had felt the elephant’s tail said the elephant was like a rope; the one who had the elephant’s leg said that the elephant was like a tree trunk… a great, big, round tree trunk. It was a barky and leathery type of thing.  The man who could feel only the side of the elephant said it was like a big wall, because everywhere he felt there was elephant; it was like running into a slightly pudgy type of wall. The one who had the ear, trying to go around the ear (and you know what an elephant’s ear is shaped like), said it was something like a fan. It was a wing-like thing and it reminded him of a fan. The one who had the trunk said it reminded him of a rubber hose.  It was flexible, it was moveable, water would come out the end, etc., so it reminded him of a hose. The person who had the tusk said it reminded him of a very slick sword that didn’t have an edge on it, but it reminded him of a curved sword.

Each one of those people was describing his own total experience and his own personal perception. Each person was describing the elephant according to his own limitations. It happened to be that they didn’t have sight.  That was one limitation. But the rest of the limitation was that they weren’t allowed to feel the entire elephant. Each person was allowed to judge the appearance of the elephant based only on the part that he was actually touching. So what happened is that all the information that came down was accurate.  The tail is like a piece of rope, the leg is like a tree trunk, the side of the elephant is similar to a soft wall, the ear similar to a fan. Each person was telling the truth. The problem was not that they were lying.  The problem was that there was only partial information. That’s the real problem. Not that someone was telling la lie or making a mistake, but that there was a limitation in the perception. The perception gave only a piece of the truth, not the whole truth.

Another example (in fact, I think it was one that Gina used several years ago) was about a painting that someone saw. The painting showed something like a lion. The description was that the painting was of a lion. So, the next thing that she saw was that there was a cage around the lion. The perception was that it had something to do with a lion being in a cage, possibly in a zoo. The next thing she saw was that there was a lion tamer working with the lion. Then it started to be like a circus type of thing. And this picture went on and on, and you started seeing it in little tiny corners. The perception would get a little bigger, then a little bigger. One of the stages showed that what this thing really was, was a sign. It was a poster of the circus coming to town.  We had started all the way in this little tiny corner and had slowly but surely outlined this thing, seeing it in its entirety in successive stops, and then came the realization, “Oh, it’s a sign of the circus coming to town!”  Then I saw the thing in its entirety, and it was on a circus wagon. The next thing you know is that the circus wagon is part of a parade. And it just went on and on and on. You realized that each perception was accurate as far as it went, but each perception was only partial.

That’s what we have the hardest time dealing with – trying to base our reactions and opinions on what’s actually going on but forgetting to recognize that we’re only seeing a little portion of what is happening. We’re seeing only the portion that we’re participating in, so we’re seeing only a tiny piece of this picture, which is part of a bigger picture, which is part of a bigger picture, just going on and on. We’re judging the whole nine yards by this little tiny perception that we have. We need to stop and recognize that at any given time, any decision that we make, any reaction that we have, any conclusion that we reach, is based on limited, possibly distorted, information. We’re seeing only a very tiny piece of the picture, and we’re seeing it from one perspective, our own.

One of the phrases in the Bible describing this situation is “seeing through a mirror darkly”, and another is, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I acted as a child. But when I became a man, I had to put away childish things.”  You are advised to remember your perceptions at any given moment are relative to your understanding at that particular moment. You’re seeing only a tiny piece, and you’re possibly seeing a distorted piece. This piece is being seen through your eyes, your reactions, which are based on your programming. If your programming is in error, you don’t have Truth. There’s no way to have Truth. If we go back far enough, we’re liable to find an error in the programming. Since the programming is going to determine the reaction, it’s going to determine the perception of what we’re seeing.

If we were all raised from the time we were really little to see auras, do you realize that it would be abnormal not to see auras? Do you know how many children see auras and they don’t know there’s anything odd about it, until someone tells them they’re not allowed to see them? That’s a kind of twisted-around way of seeing it.

I have a daughter. When my children were really little, I don’t know why, but it seemed very important to me when I was raising them, not to tell them that they “couldn’t” do something. I don’t mean sticking their fingers into light bulb sockets or anything like that, but if they wanted to try something they’d never tried before, instead of saying, “Oh, no, you’re too young to do that,” I would think to myself, “Why are they trying to do that? They’re so young!”  But I’d say, “Well, go ahead. Work on it!”

When my older daughter was twelve or thirteen, she called me up at work and said, “Mom, I’m going to make some cookies!”  And I said, “Okay, fine.”  I had taught her to cook, so there was no problem. And she said, “I’m going to make meringue!”  Well, meringue is not something that you would expect a child to start out on her own, all by herself. That’s not one of the easier things you can make. But I said to her, “Okay, now just follow the instructions very carefully.” And she said, “Okay.” They were so delicious! I hadn’t said, “You can’t do that. That’s too hard. Try something else.” And she did just fine, because she did not realize that she had picked something more difficult to do. I think I might have been a little more chicken if she’d picked something like popovers or some of the ones that unless you do everything exactly right, nothing works out.

The point is that we have preconditioned limitations in our belief in what we can do. We can theorize forever, but until we get by our preconceptions, we’ve got a problem caused by our distortions.

If, in raising my children, I had said, “Well, you can’t do that, and you can’t do that,” there would have been a whole bunch of things that they couldn’t do. And my daughter may have believed that she’d never be able to make meringue, even when she was forty or fifty years old! Now, to  say that a twelve-year-old and a thirty-year-old can’t make meringue is not the same thing. One’s got maybe fifteen or so years of cooking experience, but you could set up conditioning factors which would make her believe she could never make meringue at any age. The conditioning inside their head says, “This isn’t going to work out.  I don’t know how to do this one.”  You could give her seven different recipes, and it wouldn’t mean she’d be able to make them, because the conditioning factor is saying to her “Fail at it, fail at it!”

So, we need to stop and look at all these things before we’re going to be able to do much growing, as otherwise all we’re doing, as Tennyson said, is “rearranging our old prejudices”.  We’re not doing new thinking. We’re thinking with our old “Rule” books, and so we’re doing old thinking – just rearranging. We’re not really doing anything new with them.

Tonight what the Guides want us to work with is Altruism and Selfishness. This ought to be fun. Last year, I read a book called The Art of Selfishness by David Seabury. He teaches you how to be constructively selfish. This book teaches you how to be selfish. “How to be selfish” is only about four or five pages out of the entire book. What the book is about is showing you what selfishness really looks like. It’s really an interesting process, because I found so much selfishness in my own nature that I just hadn’t been looking at in the right light. I hadn’t thought in terms of what it really meant. I thought in terms of what my surface reactions were, but I hadn’t gotten down underneath and really thinking it through and taking it to a refined level. The book was very interesting in terms of the way it explained not only how other people are selfish around you, and can appear not to be selfish, but it also showed you how you could be selfish yourself. It really didn’t get very much into the meaning of the word “altruism”.

One of the titles of what we’re supposed to be doing is “Altruism”, the other is “Selfishness”. These two words don’t seem to be able to exist in the same space. I think that by the time we get through tonight’s lesson, we’re going to discover that there’s not so much difference between them as we think there is. I have a feeling that they’re not as opposite in meaning as we think they are.

Altruism supposedly is the capacity to be able to be very open, to do things for other people without thinking of yourself, in terms of reward, things coming back to you – ego strokes, recognition, any of those nice things that we’re all used to. If you do something nice or you give someone a gift, they turn around and say, “Oh, isn’t that nice?  Thank you!”  With a smile. And you feel kind of good, and you go away with your feathers sort of stroked a little bit. And that’s the way most of us do our work.

Altruism supposedly takes it a step further and indicates that the giving process is totally open, is totally without hope of reward, and it’s done totally unselfishly. There is no expectation of anything for the giver. One of the things that I emphasize a great deal in my Ministry classes (as I think I mentioned earlier) is recognizing that there’s nothing that you’re doing that is not based on your need to please yourself. Somewhere, bottom line, in all the work you do, is a satisfaction of some need you have.

If I go out and teach this class, and I feel that I’ve learned a great deal and I want to share it with you (and I do want to share it with you), then in a sense I’m doing a very nice, wonderful thing for everyone, especially if I don’t charge you anything for it. It’s even more wonderful if I’m so totally unselfish that I take nothing for myself. But, essentially, somewhere in what I am doing, there is some internal satisfaction for me, or I would not be doing it. There’s no way that I would do it unless it gave me some feeling of satisfaction. The feeling of satisfaction comes from feeling that I am attempting to be a more spiritual being. Being a spiritual being is being of service and I know that’s the right way to go, that’s the right way to be, but I’m still doing it for me. I don’t care what it looks like from the outside, I don’t care what label is put on it, and, if you come up and tell me I’m a really spiritual person, I think I’ll cry! Because that’s scary. At that stage, I think I’d better backtrack a little bit, because I’m wearing a halo, and I’m in a lot of trouble. I’ve created a false image that I’m going to get into if I’m not paying attention.

We don’t really do “altruistic” acts. We do things to satisfy some part of ourselves. I spend time probably every other week telling the new ministers that, “You are not doing this because you are a nice person. You are doing it because it fulfills some sort of need that you have. Don’t lose sight of that. Otherwise you’ll get caught in it.”

I do all of this work because it pleases me. I’m glad that it helps and contributes to other people’s welfare. You also help and contribute to my livelihood. But I don’t do this because I like to see you grin. I do it because I feel good doing it. As long as I don’t lose sight of that, I’m not going to get caught in the ego trap of “I’m a nice person. I’m wonderful. I’m loving and giving!” Remember, something about it makes me feel good, or I wouldn’t be doing it. So I’m not going to get out of whack on that one.  I’m not going to get out on the wrong path.

Let’s take it to the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. He believed so totally in the role that He was to play as Messiah. It was all foreordained that He was not to be recognized and that He was to be sacrificed, and the whole nine yards. Supposedly, that is the ultimate sacrifice – when you think so highly and so kindly and are so caring toward humanity at large that you actually lay down your life for them. That’s the ultimate sacrifice that we understand on a physical level. When you take your life and put it on the line, from our particular way of thinking on this physical level, that’s about as far as you can go.

How many times have you seen in the newspaper an article about someone who saved another person only to lose his own life, and you feel thrilled that anyone would lay down his life for that of another person? We look at that as almost a saintly act, because to us, at this level, it is the ultimate gift, It’s as far as you can go. You really can’t give too much more.

You have to go back and look at the nature of the person, the nature of the gift, the level that the man Jesus achieved in terms of his consciousness and awareness. I’ve come full-circle with Jesus. I started out as a Catholic, I was a born-again Christian for twelve years, went through Metaphysics and Spiritualism, which is as far-removed from  Born-Again Christianity as you can get. I’ve studied most of the world’s major religions… most of them. And I would say that at this point I still have a very healthy respect for what the man accomplished, the man being a man or woman like the rest of us, with probably the same set of equipment the rest of us have, all the same temptations, the same kind of problems. He had growing pains. He had brothers and sisters, whom I imagine thought He was not perfect with forever and ever. It’s hard to think of any child being absolutely perfect. I’m sure that there were all the normal set of circumstances that the rest of us have had to deal with. It was a much more primitive, pastoral type of setting, but for the conditions of  that time, I’m sure His life was no different from anyone else’s life.

What’s being said is that He is a person who mastered Himself, His condition, raised His consciousness and awareness into a level higher at that time than anyone else had accomplished. He gathered around Him a group of people who were aware He had pulled Himself up. So, if we start off by examining a perfectly normal human being who raised his consciousness and awareness to an extreme level in terms of what we’re used to, He became well aware of life and death. The transition state that we call “death” was in fact an ongoing of the consciousness, and what we call “death” is an experience, not a finality. It is a death on the physical plane, but a rebirth on a non-physical plane or a non-physical lifestyle. So, let’s just say that the man, who had advanced His consciousness to that degree, was aware of the fact that the self is not permanent, is not more important than anything else is. It’s just a state of transition, a cessation on the physical plane, but perhaps an opening up to a life on another level.

So, let’s just say that Jesus, who at this point should have been superior in consciousness, was well aware of the fact that this was a transitory state, and not a real thing.  And let’s just say He was fully aware of the prophecies that had come down through. In fact, one of the remarks He made was, “I have come to fulfill the prophecies, not to set aside the law.”  It was no intention of Jesus to set aside the teachings that formed the Jewish religion. He said that’s not what He came for. He came to fulfill the prophecy. And, this gift was not understood at that time. That was in the prophecies, too. That it wouldn’t be understood.

We’ve got a development of thought. Was Jesus a Divine Being, who could make no mistakes because He was the only begotten son of something that we don’t understand, a Creative Principle, who begot a son through a Virgin birth? By the way, Jesus was the seventeenth Virgin birth out of the old mythology tales and out of the old religions. In terms of Christianity, we tend to look at it as the only Virgin birth, but if you go back and look at some of the older religions, you’ll find that this was the seventeenth recorded one.

So, let’s just say that we’re going back to a divine type of man. Or are we dealing with a person who increased his awareness, who increased his capacity to be one with life, or are we dealing with a Divinity that can make no mistakes?

I think you have to sort out your own principles and premises and find out where you’re coming from. I have a tendency to believe that this was a highly evolved person. I go more with that, and less with the divinity idea – or with a highly developed set of awarenesses and perceptions.

All of the time that this was going on, He did not want to be a religious leader. He never set up an organization, He never set up a system, He never did any of these things. It was his disciples and the apostles who did all that. Nothing was organized. Everything was, “Do it as you come to it, follow it through, move with light, move with your spirit, move with your guidance.” He never set up any sort of formal definition.

You’ve got to remove yourself as a Christian and to place yourself into what was actually happening at that time. It was a very rugged life. Those people walked everywhere (they didn’t have cars). It was hot, it was uncomfortable. They moved from place to place constantly. So this was a very robust, energetic type of group.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t be out in the desert walking. They had to be robust and energetic to do that. These were not Casper Milquetoasts with poetic little faces and mincing little steps. These would have had to be some pretty rugged individuals to put up with the kind of lifestyle we’re talking about. They also would have to deal with the facts of reality, because if you’re out in the desert, walking mile after mile, you can’t have pie-in-the-sky going on in your head. You have to be able to deal with reality as it is.

So, if we have someone of a superior consciousness or awareness, highly studied in the Biblical traditions of that time, which was the Old Testament (the New Testament hadn’t been written yet; remember, it wasn’t written until long after Jesus died). So all the history we’re dealing with is Old Testament, having to live in a very rugged set of conditions, with a bank of disciples around Him who didn’t always do what they were supposed to do when they were supposed to do it. (I think you’ll discover that Jesus was unhappy with them, too. One passage mentions that they couldn’t heal a certain person. Jesus really scolded them because they didn’t have their beliefs in the right place. And if they believed in what they were doing, they wouldn’t have a problem with it. He just literally said that to the disciples.)  He was not a meek, mild person. He threw all the money-changers out of the Temple. He turned over the tables, did all sorts of things that you wouldn’t think a mild-mannered person would do. So, we’re dealing with a very human being. We’re dealing with a human being who understood the Scriptures, understood the prophecies, understood and felt that He was there to fulfill them. This is a very aware person. This was also a very aware person who, as far as we can tell, was intensely psychic in nature, intensely good psychically. They’re still not sure whether or not He physically walked on the water or whether they saw his astral form travelling. He frightened the heck out of His disciples. It’s unlikely His physical form would have frightened them, but if they could see right through Him, it would have done a pretty good scare job on them.

I’ve got a book called Jesus Christ Super-Psychic written by Tiemeyer, of Miami, and also some of his tapes. They are excellent. He doesn’t tell you to believe in anything. He just takes you miracle by miracle through it, and says, is this possible?  What would happen if… And you sit down and you start playing with these things and you really come up with some neat things.  Jesus was a very aware person, very well-trained, adept, capable of transfiguration. He did that. We’re aware that he transfigured on the mountain.  He was capable of talking with spirits. Who was He talking with when Satan tempted Him? Do you suppose it was the king of a neighboring friendly tribe or something like that? It was supposedly a spirit of temptation. He rebuked spirits and people and did exorcisms and drove out evil entities. He must have been psychic. You can call it something else if you want to. For all intents and purposes, that’s a psychic type of experience.

So, what we’ve got is a person who’s very adept, very developed, very aware. And if He really was all that adept and all that aware and all that developed, He probably could have talked Himself out of dying on that cross if He wanted to. You can’t convince me that when He was asked to defend Himself, He could say nothing. He was smart enough to know how to defend Himself. And if He was really that psychic and that capable of doing so many extraordinary things, that He couldn’t have found a way out of his dilemma from the psychic level.

So what have we got?  We’ve got a supposedly intelligent, superior human being. He obviously was not a sissy. He couldn’t have handled the physical conditions that prevailed at that time if He had been a sissy. He willingly walked to a cross, carried the cross, went through all that suffering, got up there, and died, and we’re going to say, “That’s a very loving, altruistic act by a Divine Person?”

But essentially you need to go back and look at it a little further, because that’s not what’s being said. He was smart enough to look at the options and He was smart enough to decide which price tag He was willing to pay. He was smart enough to look at it and say, “If I do it this way, this is the set of results. If I do it this way, this is the set of results.”

Now, if He were aware that the suffering would be minimal (in terms of time, we would be dealing with only a few hours), if He decided that death was a transition state only, if He were well aware of that (that had been proven over and over again to Him – He had raised Lazarus from the dead, something had been proven to Him about death), and if He totally believed in what He was supposed to do, the role He was supposed to play, then He made a very objective decision. He did not make a decision based on altruism. He based a free-willed decision on a set of options and He chose the price tag that He was willing to pay, based on the results that He wanted to see experienced.

I’m sure that He scored many Brownie points somewhere else. I’m sure He was well aware of the fact that “He was laying up His treasures in Heaven”. In other words, He said, “In order to save myself on this level, I will have to pay the price.”  It would have been sort of an aggrandizement-type of thing if He had walked out of that jail free. He would have had many physical followers at that time, but He wouldn’t have had what He was looking for. He was not looking for physical followers. He was looking for followers of the Spirit. He was willing to pay the price tag for them.

But you need to recognize that while that may appear to be the ultimate type of altruism, if you examine it very, very thoroughly, you will discover that it was the act of an intelligent person making an intelligent decision. There were a set of variables and alternatives, and that person picked the alternative with the variable that He was willing to pay the price tag for. He did it because He could see a higher and better good, not only for the people who were going to follow and recognize what was going on, but also for Himself. He was well aware of the nature of the sacrifice. He was well aware of what it meant in terms of personal growth for Him. He could not have been that highly developed, He could not have had his consciousness developed to that level, unless He was totally aware of the outcome, of the results of His actions. That had to be part of His thinking. The man was not stupid.

So, in our annals, that’s the ultimate set of altruism. If you sit down and look at it, it is not really an act of altruism. It is a conscious, rational set of choices.

COMMENT:  Would you say that the young boy who jumped into the canal (whom we’ve all read about) to save a child and loses his own life, is this pure altruism?

MARILYN: No. I don’t think it is pure altruism. What’s happening is that we have a misconception of what “altruism” is.

COMMENT: But if he does it spontaneously, without a moment’s conscious thinking, isn’t this a desire to help the next person who is in need, with no thought of self?

MARILYN: It’s a beautiful, giving act. But if he jumped without thinking, that’s more of an act of altruism than what we call the “ultimate” act of altruism, which was the sacrifice that Jesus made. That was a rational choice. That was looking at all the factors and knowing what the variables were. The choice was made because there was a greater good to be served. We could see a larger piece of the picture. He can see only that there’s a response factor.  Child is drowning, jump in. Response factor says, “Jump in.”  It is based more on reaction that it is on a decision to sacrifice his life. It’s based on a reactive type of thing. But it is not really a conscious act. It is a subconscious reaction. We’re dealing with a slightly different premise here.

There is no way that I can say that a genuinely-motivated unselfish act is a bad thing. When we’re teaching Healers, this is an important point. We teach them not to take on the condition of the patient. We talk to them very strongly about not taking on conditions of illness. Because you achieve nothing when you trade one sick person for another sick person. You achieve nothing when a boy jumps into a canal to save a child and loses his own life. It’s a lateral move. Perhaps the boy who saved the life exhibited some superior trait that’s going to help him grow spiritually (i.e., it’s going to help his consciousness evolve because he did a basically unselfish act, but he did it spontaneously, unconsciously, reactively, not from a conscious decision to sacrifice his life for another’s). There’s a slight difference there.

COMMENT: My feeling is that the boy who jumped in to do the saving thought that he’d get out also.

MARILYN: Probably. There’s a lot of difference between reacting to a situation and consciously knowing what the variables are in the situation, a conscious decision to do the act.  It’s like, most parents will do whatever they have to do to save their child.  Their child.  Most of the time, they’ll do 90% of that to save someone else’s child.  There’s a slight difference between saving my child and saving a child. And there’s definitely going to be something that says, “If I weigh the circumstances, and I know that my life may be forfeit if I do this, then I may not react as quickly. I may have to think this through. I may still make the same decision, but now I’ve got a whole different set of circumstances in making the decision.” Most of this time, if it’s your own child, you will carry through on your initial impulse. If it’s someone else’s child, you’ll hesitate. The motivations are not the same. Things are slightly different. There is a more abstract quality of love vs. a more personal quality of love, and you will not necessarily act or react in the same way that you would with a person that you are personally involved with.

COMMENT: This might apply to people who are very sick. Years ago it was unheard of that they could be responsible for their own decision as to whether to live or die. Now, if a person decides he doesn’t want to live anymore, that he wants to pull the plug…

MARILYN: But that’s under a very specific set of circumstances. That’s on the life-prolonging type of equipment, or drug, and that’s the only thing that’s keeping them alive. It’s the idea of euthanasia, the idea of allowing a person to “die with dignity”. To have dignity and to have choice in whether they live or die, if their life is being prolonged merely by the use of machines or drugs. There’s no real way that they can be saved, that they can be cured, or that they can be made into productive human beings. Most people do not want to die by inches, they want to die with a little bit of dignity.

What we’re really coming down to is this:  Does a person have that kind of right? It’s a very touchy subject. I think that what really got us horrified about the whole thing was not so much that we couldn’t prolong a life, because all of us feel that while there’s still life  in the body, there’s some hope. Maybe some miracle will come through if we can just buy a little extra time. Our thinking process for a long time has been based on that. But I think we took away so much of the dignity of the person involved that we started to look at another piece of that picture. When we were dealing with, “Well, let’s prolong this life regardless,” we were dealing with this corner, and then we started to say, “Yes, but look at the expense, the trauma of the family going through all of this, the dying-by-inches type of thing, and the sick person saying, “Please let me go. Stop hanging on to me!” And we started looking at that part of the picture. Now, if we keep watching a little bit longer, we’re going to discover that there’s a time for us to get into this part of the picture, and we’re going to keep seeing in successively larger stages. And each stage we see it in we’ll think we’re seeing it in the correct stage. But that’s not necessarily going to be true. It will be our own limited perspective. That’s the only way we can really see it, though.

It’s up to us to recognize that we’ve got built-in limitations and distortions in that perspective, and keep our minds open, recognizing that we’re only seeing successive stages of a progressively larger picture. And when we get a picture this big {gesturing}, we’re probably not seeing the whole thing. So you have to be open-minded.

The reason I get into this is so that we could understand what the word “altruism” means. In order to understand “altruism” and “selfishness” (which would be the opposite), we have to recognize that it’s not that opposite a frame of reference. Altruism is what appears to us to be the ultimate set of sacrifice, or a willingness to give without expecting some sort of reward. Giving for the act of giving itself. A lovely, delightful stage for us eventually to arrive at, and to arrive at it we have to go by little tiny increments, a little altruism here and a little altruism there. But you need to recognize that the base of Altruism is not an irrational act. Altruism is an act of a person who says, “I give, I recognize the price tag of my gift, and I’m still willing to give it.” So, there is a logical, rational human being at the core of this, who weighed the variables, looked at the price tag and said, “This is what I’m willing to do, put my money where my mouth is. I believe in this thing, and I am willing to do this thing.”

That’s not an act which is without premeditation. The person who is making that type of sacrifice, that type of act, is well aware of the cost and the rewards that are built into it. The rewards that are built into it are not necessarily longer life, physical recognition, glory, money, things like that, because that’s not the value system of the person doing the act. A person who is doing an altruistic act is nothing on this level. His thinking is based on a much higher spiritual promise that is, “I believe in doing this thing because I’m at this state of consciousness.” And he cannot be judged for his act except by somebody in a similar state of  consciousness, and who can see the price tag that this person is willing to pay for the results this person is willing to accept. They are not results on a tangible, physical level, but there are always results to every action. Every intelligent person knows that if you initiate anything, you’re going to have resu1ts.  Go ahead.

COMMENT: How would you classify the young man who tried to kill the President?

MARILYN: Well, he had a particular end in  mind. He wanted the young lady to respond to him, to prove to her without a shadow of a doubt that he could carry through the act that she was supposed to commit in the movie. I don’t know exactly what this was all about, but I understand that she played a part in a movie where she attempted an assassination and it failed. He wanted to show her that he could do it, because he was more or less in love with her. He was trying to prove it out. He did it because he thought he would gain prestige with her, proving that he could do the act that she was not able to complete.

COMMENT: How about the fellow who killed John Lennon? He had some spiritual…

MARILYN: He was supposedly told to perform the act. Now, it’s possible. You can’t say it’s not possible. Anything’s possible. Somewhere from “upstairs”, Abraham was told to slay his only son. And he stood with a knife poised over the altar! I think that’s a heck of a test. I hope they don’t ever give me one like that! I read that thing and I thought, “Don’t give me that one! I’m not ready for that one at all!”

Stop and think about it. Is that any different from what’s-his-name… Chapman?  Is it any different if he gets a voice like that and sees the act through, because perhaps the voice on the other side is not wearing a white hat? Is it any less possible or any less real? He felt guided. We’re going to feel he was misguided. It’s all relative. Which position are we standing in? I’ll bet you there are a lot of people in this country and around the world who don’t feel that he was misguided, who feel it’s a shame his aim wasn’t better, that it was a shame that he didn’t do the whole job. I’ll bet you there’s a raft of people that don’t feel like we do. That’s horrendous that human life shouldn’t be more valuable than that, and you feel entitled to shoot someone because you don’t agree with him.

We’re all walking around saying, “Well, this poor misguided soul!” By whose standards? By our standards, he’s a misguided soul. By our standards, no true Guide would ever have you take the life of another person. So, you’ve got to stop and look at the position that you’re judging it from every time.

I have a hard time where children are concerned. I can be very good on a lot of levels, but you put a child in the act, and automatically I have a built-in barrier that says, “Don’t hurt that child!” I know that child chose this existence, I know it chose its lifestyle, and I know it chose to experience this, but…?  DON’T HURT THAT KID!”  Because I’ve got a piece in me whereby you hit a wall when you hit the word “child”.  I don’t handle abuse of children well. I can stand here and reel it all off to you, and I really mean it intellectually, but when it comes down to reacting to it inside, it doesn’t work that way. I’ve got a blind spot where children are concerned.

One of the things I had a problem with was the Atlanta killings. I was horrified, not only at the terrible kind of feeling that you got from it, but all I could think of was, “What if I were one of those parents?” I can’t imagine trying to face something like that. I think that’s horrible. So I had a real case going.

Betty, you’re aware of the phone message I got, aren’t you?  I got in here one day, 9:30 in the morning, turned on my answering device, and I got a disembodied message from somebody (I still don’t know who it was) that was talking to the Workers of Light who were working on the Atlanta child killings. What literally was said was that the Workers of Light should realize that all things have a purpose. That’s really what was coming down through, “Don’t take on something that you don’t understand, and recognize that all things serve a purpose.”  Well, I tell you, that one ran around in my head sideways for about three months. I find it hard when you include the children, to be that broad minded. My mind closed right down really fast.

From whose perspective are we viewing it? Atlanta was unified. It brought together an entire city in a way it could not be brought together before. There was a superior purpose served, in several ways. I’m not sure that was a correct or a right thing, or that I feel any better about it than I ever did. I am saying, though, that the announcement I got on the phone really served to remind me that I was only seeing a piece of the picture, and I was only seeing a distorted piece of it, basing it on my own perspective, which may or may not be valid, and I tried to open my mind a little bit more and to see it on a larger perspective. I tried to see if there were other factors that were involved that brought some good out of the situation.

As we get further and further into what’s going on, what we call the Aquarian Age, or the changeover, we’re well aware that there are going to be a lot of problems. And that particular set of problems is probably not going to be any worse that anything else we’re going to face (referring to the Atlanta killings). The lootings and the riots in Miami, and the people who were hurt and maimed and killed, businesses that were damaged, and the personal and economic deprivation that area’s inhabitants went through. Really, all of it is relative. When you’re directly involved in it, it’s very painful. If they happen to hit your own little personal button, it’s very painful.

If we are truly being altruistic, then we are not expecting recognition or praise for what we’re doing.  “Oh, come now, that’s not what I did it for. Just take it as it is and leave it alone!”  We would be less than human if we didn’t respond to the fact that someone appreciated what we did. We’re all going to do that. Everybody is going to feel good when someone else feels good about something we did. That’s normal. There’s nothing wrong with that. All of us are perfectly capable of performing acts which can be misinterpreted as being altruistic. Basically, what we are doing is preforming acts in ways that our consciousness recognizes or feels is the right way for us to act. It considered the variables, considered the price tags, and decided that this was the way it wanted to go. So it’s a conscious decision on our part which has been misconstrued as an act of altruism. And the problem with this is that we get “caught” in our act of “altruism”.

So we have to make sure we understand the word “altruism”, and when we see someone doing an act that is altruistic or is labeled as altruistic, that we recognize that as long as it was a conscious decision and not a reactive one (not well thought-through), there’s a slight difference in definition. An altruistic act is a conscious decision based on doing something that you believe in at the time, and the reward is in the act itself. It does not require an outside reward, and we all think that is marvelous, that a person would do something and not expect an outside reward. But that’s because the reward is inherent in the act itself. The person doing it is not thinking of it in terms of “altruism”. In doing the act, he’s thinking of the right thing for him to do at that particular time. It satisfied something inside himself, something that made him feel good. So we go all the way back to making yourself feel good no matter what act you do, unless we react without thinking.

I really believe, and I teach this with implicit faith in the Healing courses, that if you substitute one sick person for another sick person, then it’s a lateral move, and no forward progress is made.

Did you have something to say?

COMMENT: Yes. While I was doing some work for the American Red Cross down here, someone asked me for some help, so I went down there and I was supposed to contact servicemen overseas whose families were concerned about them. I felt good doing it, but initially I started because they said they needed somebody to help them, and I thought it would be a good way to occupy some time.

MARILYN: Okay. So you had two things which paid you even before you got the recognition from outside. No. 1:  something to occupy your time, and you thought, “Well, this is better than sitting here reading the newspaper or walking on the beach, or whatever.”  You decided, “I like this as opposed to this,” so essentially there was an odd kind of reward which others might not understand but which was satisfactory to you. Then it made you feel good because it was a nice thing to do and you liked helping other people, so the act itself was its own reward. It could have been misconstrued from the outside as perhaps not an altruistic act, but as an act bordering on altruism. But you made a conscious decision. You were not coerced into sacrificing your life.

Let’s just imagine a group of people on a ship that’s stranded out in the middle of the ocean.  They’re running out of water, and in order for most of them to survive, someone has to volunteer not to drink water. Now, they can draw straws.  They can decide that whoever gets the short straw or the long straw will be odd-man-out. That has nothing to do with altruism. That’s Russian Roulette. But if someone says, “Don’t bother, I volunteer,” that classifies it as an act of altruism.

What is the person’s motivation for volunteering? If that person has a wife on board and he knows that his wife could be the one who has to go, his motivation is to spare his wife. That sounds very noble, but what if the marriage was rotten to begin with? He might not have any reason to go with his wife. Now we have a slightly different motive for the whole thing. One of them has terminal cancer and the rest of them don’t know it. Then he may spare himself some suffering. He’s going to die anyway. Should he let everyone else die?

You see what’s happening inside the head when I’m saying that what may appear or be construed as an act of altruism could have all sorts of different variables underneath?

COMMENT: Isn’t it possible that the person might just have a love for these people, for humanity?

MARILYN: It’s possible, sure!  It’s highly rare, but it’s possible. But please don’t look for it in  normal society. If you can imagine it, it’s possible. Remember the old saying, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive, man can achieve?”  So, if it’s something that you can think of, it’s entirely possible for a human to experience, but I have the feeling that it would be a rarity. 

Go ahead.

COMMENT: We were having dinner at my father-in-law’s just before coming to Florida, and one of my father-in-law’s friends came over – a very, very aware person. This was just when I was first getting into metaphysics. We were talking the whole night about a lot of things. When we got home that night, I said to my wife, “You know, honey, Phil is going to die tonight.”  She said, “What makes you say that?”  I said, “From the way he was talking, I sense that he wanted to move on to a different plane.”  Well, he died that night. I picked up on what he was saying.  He was saying, “I don’t want to be here anymore.”

MARILYN: He was saying, “I’ve done what I came here to do, and it’s time to move on.” That’s not something that most people would understand. You’re going to discover a very few people sitting in a room like this who could accept that kind of conscious decision of an aware person.

An example of this: a friend of mine who was a minister, a Rosicrucian, she was a sixth-degree Astara, she had done just an incredible amount of metaphysical work. She just decided to die. She just flat out decided to die. She had no reason to live any further. A bunch of her friends, thinking she was in a fit of depression, really tried to encourage her, bubble her up, and keep her alive. She died in spite of us. We tried, turned ourselves inside out, trying to give her the will to live.  I was rather upset, because I thought, “She’s only fifty-three. She was so young, she had so much to give, she’s learned so much.”  She could help other people. She really did have a lot to do still.

I did her chart, and I never saw such a beautiful death experience in my entire life! You want to see someone do a backward turn really fast! Because I became aware of the fact that I was not being altruistic or being giving in the sense of trying to keep my friend alive and give her hope and give her a will to live. I was being selfish in that I didn’t want to lose my friend. I did not want my friend to move on. It was time for my friend to move on. The chart showed me that it was time for my friend to move on. All of us “well-meaning” people around her were holding her back. We may have been well-meaning, and I maybe devoted an awful lot of time to picking her up and taking her to all sorts of places she didn’t really want to go, but she had no desire to be here any longer. So we hung on and hung on with all the best intentions in the world, but what we were doing were acts of selfishness, because we didn’t want to lose her.

COMMENT: Another thing I picked up the night I mentioned before was that I was really happy for him.

MARILYN: It was time for him to move on.

COMMENT: Even though it was a matter of his death, it gave me a good feeling. I really felt good about his death. None of my family could understand that.

MARILYN: It’s the same as when I did that chart. Then I could see that, in a way that I understand. You perceived it in a different way – I perceived it in an astrological way. Death was not a bad thing; it was a good thing. What was construed as an act of kindness and love was really an act of selfishness. We’re just not looking at it from the right perspective. That’s what we’re about to do. We’re about to look at it from the other side.

Go ahead.

COMMENT: When I was in the army, I was an officer, and we’d taken desert training out in the Mojave Desert. One day… and everybody knows that it’s a very difficult thing to get along without water… one day the water truck came up, and I told the men to get in line so that the water could be distributed. There was an officer from another company who always filled up all his desert bags first, and the rest was given to the men  It just so happened that in this case, there was no water left for me. So he said to me, “Lieutenant, what are you going to do now?” And I said, “These men are not blind. They saw what happened. If I want a drink, I’ll get it from them.” And he looked at me, and he couldn’t understand that. Well, as a result, when I needed water, I could always get it, but whenever he needed water, he never got it, because he was selfish to the nth degree. In fact, he was written up by the umpires who observed all these things.

MARILYN: Can you see the lesson in what occurred here? It’s a situation that demonstrates that when you placed yourself at the end of the line, you would know that if they ran out of water you wouldn’t get any. Yet you looked at the price tag and said, “It’s okay, because they understand that I was at the end of the line, that I put their interest ahead of mine, and therefore they will follow through.”  It was not an unintelligent decision. It was a decision based on the fact that you knew there would be a return at some point. Now, you could have had a bunch of really rotten people, and forget it! But essentially, in the position that you were in, you made a decision based on logic. That was not an altruistic act. You knew it would be followed through. You knew you did not have a particular problem at that time. The price tag was not that bad.

COMMENT: I wasn’t thinking about the water. I was thinking in terms of leadership.

MARILYN: But that’s a price tag you were willing to pay. The price tag you were willing to pay was what you should be doing in terms of being a leader. It was a logical set of choices on your part…it’s not a gift that said, “Go ahead, men, take all the water, and I’ll do without.”  You knew your men, but what you were also doing was paying the price tag based on your qualities as a leader rather than thinking of your ration of water at the end of the line.

Go ahead.

COMMENT: We hear a lot about “being a martyr. . .”

MARILYN: We’re just about to do that one. Let’s just examine the word “altruism” from the inside out now, and we can see that what could be labeled as an “altruistic” act is something that could very easily be misinterpreted from the outside. The person who is making a conscious “altruistic” act would be making a decision based on his level of thinking, his perception, and the price tags that he’s willing to pay at that time. So, for instance, in terms of what we were discussing about Jesus, He was aware on a much higher level, could see a much larger part of the picture, and based His decisions on His perspective at that point. From our perspective and as far as we could see, it looked like an act of extreme altruism or sacrifice, but probably the decision that He was making wasn’t based on that at all. It was conscious choice based on a set of variables, and He chose knowing full well the results that He was expecting to achieve. That does not make His gift less valuable, it just means that when you’re sitting here looking at someone who is three-quarters of the way up the mountain, they can look an awful lot smarter, an awful lot better-equipped to handle the situation than we can from down here.

The important thing to realize is that He kept insisting that He was no different from the rest of us, and that we were perfectly capable of achieving similar things if we really wanted to. He came as a teacher, and somehow or other, we crucified the Messiah, and that’s not what His intent was. In nothing that He said was He trying to attract attention to Himself. He drew attention to Himself only to demonstrate that everyone had the same capacity to achieve what He was achieving. He said, “I’m no different.  I’m no better.  I’m not God. Don’t praise Me.”  Literally, He said that He was like a light to show the path. And it all got misconstrued. It doesn’t make the gift less valuable. It just got misconstrued.

Now what I’d like to play with is the word “selfishness”. That book The Art of Selfishness by Seabury is probably one of the best little books you’ll ever read.  Boy, will you see how you’ve been suckered into it nine thousand times! Probably my favorite part of it was the “martyr” type of acts that the parents made for the child, especially the mothers. The mothers have a monopoly on being dramatic. The fathers can do the same act, but somehow, it’s less dramatic.  Because the mother is weaker, and more helpless, and women’s salaries aren’t as good, and life is slanted in favor of the male, etc.  So if the woman does it, it’s got to be five times as bad as if the man does it. They’ve got the same problems, the same growing pains, etc., but somehow, it’s more magnificent if the woman does it, because of the conditions in our society. It’s becoming a little more balanced,  but it’s still slanted in favor of the male.

COMMENT:  I think, “Jewish mother!”

MARILYN: {Laughing}  The proverbial Jewish mother!  I think she’s the best example of all. Some of them (the mothers) go through the whole bit, and they get very dramatic. “I’ve sacrificed for you, I’ve given up my whole life for you, I’ve done all these wonderful things for you, and you’re going to run me out. How am I going to survive?”  You know, the whole nine yards. And so, we’re all used to the more obvious forms, the more obvious, outward forms. Then we have the less obvious forms which are, “It’s all right. Go ahead and go. I’ll be all right.”  And this is the “martyr” act.  This is the one who is not being blatant and open about it. She’s literally saying, “It’s all right, you can walk all over me. It’s perfectly all right. I’m used to it by now, and I’m strong and I can take it!” And there are the people who misconstrue the act that you do, and see them as acts of ultimate sacrifice, and that’s the one that I was the victim of.

It was very frustrating, because I couldn’t get it across to people that I was not being the victim of any sacrifice. Because I raised four children by myself, people were saying, “Oh, you poor thing!”  I never understood what they meant by “poor thing”. I liked my kids! I thought they were neat! It was great. Somebody “upstairs” liked me because He gave them to me! I was very grateful that I had the opportunity to do it. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t tough days, but not ever once did I ever see it as a sacrifice. And I would get very frustrated with people who would talk to me about “my sacrifice”. I couldn’t convince them that I wasn’t making a sacrifice. That used to frustrate me beyond belief. I was placed in the position of defending myself as a sacrificial lamb when I wasn’t one, didn’t want the role, didn’t need it, and surely didn’t need anyone programming my children’s heads that mother was playing sacrificial lamb.

Right now, I have sons who are grown up. Supposedly, when your car breaks down, it’s really neat if son comes through and changes a flat tire, or whatever, you know. “The car has funny sounds. Come down and look at it!” And the implication is that I’ve just spent twenty years raising these kids, and I nearly fell into that. I thought, “Well, it’s okay, because if I really need some help, I don’t have to worry about going to these gas stations that are going to sell me the racks off the walls, because I’m too dumb to know that I don’t really need them.”

I’ll say to my son, “The gas station people say this should be done. What do you think?”  And he’s going to give me all this wonderful, magnificent advice. I nearly fell into that one, just like everybody else does. But somewhere along the  line, it dawned on me that if a child of mine does something for me, I would like him to do it for me because he chooses to do it for me, not because he feels he owes me something. That’s really what it amounts to. 

You can fall into the “martyr” role very easily without even realizing that you’ve fallen in. If you’re assuming that the gift you gave willingly should be rewarded because you put twenty years into it, then it wasn’t a gift. It wasn’t a gift of love! It was an act of selfishness. It was just a better-disguised set of selfishness. It wore a better disguise.

If I gave that gift, honestly believed I gave it, then there’s no obligation on the part of anyone else. If I were to receive something from my children, it should be because my children choose to give it to me. Not because it was expected in any way  If there is an expectation placed on it, even if the expectation is placed on it long after the gift, you’re taking back your gift. It has a price tag attached to it.

It’s a very sneaky type of thing. A better-disguised act of selfishness than some of the more overt ones. Some of the acts of selfishness we can see very readily.

I would be doing the ultimate act of selfishness in my capacity if I taught a class that had no content and charged you for it. And I’m a good I could be up here and run your heads around for two hours and tell you nothing. I’m perfectly capable of doing that. I was out in the business world twenty-five years and I know how to do it just as well as anybody else does. I’ve got just as much capability of it. I’m perfectly capable of doing four paragraphs with no content.  I’m perfectly capable of doing two hours with no content. There are an awful lot of metaphysics teachers out there giving at least two hours work, for pay, who don’t tell you anything, say nothing that has any meaning, has any value, helps you grow. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t make you think. If I did nothing else but make you think, that’s of some value, even if I didn’t give you anything new, but just made you run it around in a different way, jumble it up, examine some of your old perceptions, you would get something reasonably valuable out of it. If I got up there and made a jackass out of myself, and showed you exactly what you didn’t want to be like, I would be giving you something valuable. I could get up here and play with your heads. You need to be especially careful in this field, because there should be content, or value, even if the value is negative.

I read something recently that confirmed my own thinking of many years. I’ve never regretted studying anything, not even something I didn’t like, because I know where I don’t belong. You never are sorry that you take any course or study something, even if you think, “Wow, I don’t want to do any of that!” Now you know that particular area over there is not for you – go over here. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong for everyone. There’s just no particular advantage for you to go in that direction. You haven’t wasted any time, you’ve not really lost anything.  You’ve gained something of value to you. You’ve gained some knowledge. It may be where you don’t belong, but it’s still some knowledge. Knowledge of where somebody else’s head is, even though you don’t want your head over there.

But, when someone takes from you and gives nothing in return, takes and gives nothing to balance the energy, that’s an act of selfishness. If you come in and I decide that I’m going to give you something that I see value to, and you don’t want it, and I insist on giving it, then I am committing a selfish act, even though I am “giving”. See the trap in that one?

How many times have you wanted love from a person who has said, “I love you.” But the brand of  love that they’re capable of giving is not the brand of love that you’re capable of receiving. And the brand of love you’re capable of receiving is not the brand of love they’re capable of giving? What do you do with them? If you decide to terminate it, because it does not satisfy either one, but the other person perhaps is afraid to have it terminated, even though it has no value as it is, that person may be afraid of having nothing. Then are you supposed to be so unselfish that you stay in a non-productive relationship? Is it a real gift to continue a relationship that has no value to either party? What kind of gift are you giving? Perpetuating a lie, perpetuating something based on some false premise that you’re giving them something? What are you giving them? A loss of time. It may be painful for the person to face what he does not want to face, and it may appear as an act of selfishness on your part to force the issue, but if the issue is faced, then it allows more freedom of action for both people. Otherwise, it perpetuates the trap.

What is the trap based on? A misguided set of intentions? I told you I hung on to a lady thinking it was for her good, but it really was for my good. I didn’t do that consciously and intentionally. It was very effective, nevertheless. They say that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Well, I’ve got to have contributed to half of the pavement there. Because good intentions are great, but you’d better sit back and look at them. I was committing a selfish act disguised as an unselfish act. I didn’t know it. I didn’t intend to do that, but still, it was a selfish act.

COMMENT: Then what you’re saying is that there is no such thing as an “altruistic” act.

MARILYN: That’s right!  You just got the whole thing. You’re not confused at all! Every single thing that we do, even those acts that seem to be against our best interests, is a choice that we make, based on a set of options that are available.

For instance, if I choose to remain in a relationship that is non-productive or even counter-productive (i.e., I’m not only getting no positives, but I’m going down the tubes, and so is everybody else involved in it), because I feel a sense of loyalty, or I made a promise, or for whatever other reasons there may be, I’m still saying, “Price Tag A and Price Tag B.”  It really has to be looked at as being selfish. Somehow or other, even though I’m miserable, I choose to perpetuate this role. I just can’t “bring myself to hurt these other people”. We’re all going to be miserable together. Or, I just take my courage in both hands and do what I believe is right. If I believe that these people will be happier if they have more freedom, more chance to bring new experiences into their lives, I choose to have new experiences in my life (I choose not to remain trapped). It’s exactly that – a non-productive trap.

That doesn’t give us carte blanche not to try to maintain relationships. I’m not saying that. I’m saying, “Watch out for the trap!” What you need to do is to examine whether the motive is selfish or unselfish. You’d better really, really look at that carefully, because selfishness and unselfishness sometimes switch masks. What can appear to be an unselfish act, on thorough examination, can turn out to be the most selfish of all of the acts that can be performed.

The bottom line is the awareness, the growth, the productivity of the people involved, and a stagnant relationship can never be a good one.

Can you look at and recognize that what you would label as a “selfish” act may in the long run not be a selfish act? You need to be aware that every person always, without exception, acts in his or her best interest. Every person, bottom line, acts in a manner, accepts a price tag, and accepts a set of circumstances that is always in their best interest as they see it at that time. That doesn’t mean they’re right. It doesn’t mean they’ve got a handle on it. It doesn’t mean that they can see the whole picture; it doesn’t mean their programming is not distorted. It only means that, based on a set of variables, the decision I make now is what I think suits me best. That might be to martyr myself for the next forty years, but I base that on where I am right now. It may be distorted and it may be a highly selfish act, but as I see it right now, this serves my best interest, and everybody makes every decision based on that. Every time. It may not be the truth. It may be a piece of the truth.  It may be a total distortion. But you always act in your best interest, as you understand your best interest at any given moment.

You can program yourself into being miserable, because for some odd reason, the alternative may be more miserable. There are certain kinds of choices you can make. If you make a positive choice, you’re making a choice to enhance your happiness or well-being. If you make a negative choice, you’re making the choice based on minimizing or negating any unhappiness (negatives toward your well-being). A positive choice gives you the options for bettering your condition. A negative choice would be, “Well, if I have these variables, which is the one which will hurt the least? I’ll take that one.”

You decide to buy a new TV. What you’re really saying to yourself is, “Which brand am I going to buy? A new TV will better my life. I like that.”  But if you talk about repairing a roof, the choice is between repairing the roof, which you may not really want to do, or letting the leaks ruin your carpet or come down your walls, or ruin some furniture. In other words, you’re making a set of choices based on minimizing your discomfort. Or you’re making a set of positive choices.  “My well-being stands here, and I’m going to make a choice for my well-being.”  Most of us are used to making negative choices – the ones to minimize our discomfort. Because none of us really wants to face discomfort. When we do that, we are literally “martyrizing” ourselves. We are being selfish, that is a selfish act. If I make a choice based on minimizing my discomfort, that is a selfish act. It is an act based on what is going to make me most comfortable. If I make a positive choice, what I’m saying is, “This situation is unhealthy for everyone concerned, and I am not going to allow it to continue. I am going to make a move which may be misconstrued as a very selfish move, but my hope is, my desire is, my aim is, to better the circumstances of everyone, including my own.”  Bottom line, you’re after your own well-being.

Now, I want you to make a quantum leap in your head. We just talked about the fact that every act we do is essentially selfish in nature. We can call it an “altruistic” act if we want to. It’s just a label.

Everyone of us is making a set of choices based on a particular perspective at any given moment,  right, wrong, or indifferent. From the perspective of five minutes from now, I’m going to base my decision on where I’m at five minutes from now. I’m going to be constantly changing, constantly opening up. And the more I open myself up, the wider I become. I won’t even get “right” per se, but I’ll get “righter”.  We’re all making individual choices to better ourselves.  Everything that we do is essentially selfish in nature. We just haven’t labeled it “selfish”. What we’re attempting to do is to get to the point where we know ourselves so well and understand and be in communion with ourselves so well that we always act in our best interest.

In knowing and recognizing our own divinity, we automatically know and recognize the divinity of all mankind. There’s only one person in the whole world that you can truly help and that’s yourself! You cannot help another human being unless they choose to open the door to that help. With all the best intentions in the world, you can’t help anybody. The only person in the whole world you can do anything for or anything to is you. As you better yourself, you better every person that you touch. You improve the lives of every person that you touch as you improve yourself. If you improve yourself individually, you become a better mother, a better wife, a better father, a better worker. Just a better person! And the more you’re in tune and in harmony with what you are, and what makes your life work, the more you will be able to be an example to show other people that it can work that way! You’re going to learn to teach other people to be a little selfish. I’m not suggesting that we turn everyone loose and turn them into monsters. But as we recognize the divinity within us and the divinity within everyone else, we’re going to open up all these barriers that have led to separativeness, because we’re not going to feel threatened.  If we’re not threatened, we don’t have to be separate. We’re going to cut down the barriers of separativism.

Separative says, “I am afraid of you because you threaten me,” but if I am secure in my own beingness, and if I can help you to feel secure in your own beingness, then we are not going to be threatening each other. There’s no threat, there’s no division between us. There’s nothing to keep us separate. And we’ll eventually enjoy our unity, because we’ll be able to express our individuality.

COMMENT: Everything you say is true.

MARILYN: Gee, that’s interesting!

COMMENT: But I’m thinking of something else. When I was in combat, I was ordered to do certain things, and if I said no, of course I would have been subject to court martial. So I did them. Just as I received orders, I had to give orders to my men. Now, in retrospect, I can see how this made me a better person through these experiences, even though we went through all these unnatural… I mean, war is not a natural experience. You have bombs raining down, you have people in foxholes full of water, etc.  You know, all that.

MARILYN: But essentially, you were making choices the whole time. The choice was between obeying an order that went against you on an internal level, or being court martialed. Somewhere along the line you said to yourself, “I don’t want to be court martialed! I’m going to give a set of orders I don’t believe in, I would prefer not to follow, to a bunch of men who are probably going to have the same reactions I am having, the same options and the same choices. Essentially, you did make your choice, based on the price tag you were willing to pay at any given time. Now, that’s not a very nice set of choices. That’s sort of like putting a gun to someone’s head and saying, “Whistle Dixie!”  The choice is then between having some idiot pull the trigger and ending your physical life, or doing something that you don’t like, being hassled or forced into doing it. It goes against your grain to be forced into doing something you don’t want to do. But you’re the only one who knows which is more important – your pride or your life. Because that’s really what’s at stake. So you do make a set of choices.

The important thing is for us to recognize that we’re all constantly making this kind of choice all of the time. Those choices are not really taken away from us. They’re given to us. We cannot live without making choices.

COMMENT: This is what you’re drilled in, your basic conditioning, all the time I was in the Army. It’s constantly being reinforced in many different ways.

MARILYN: But that’s true across the board in human experience. As a mother, as a wife, I was constantly being conditioned to the roles of mother and wife. A secretary is constantly conditioned to the role of secretary. You just happened to have the military as your conditioning factor. The thing is that you can’t undo any of the things that have been done in the past, but you can stop and look at what you’ve gone through, what you’ve produced, what your choices were. Start opening up your perspectives and recognizing that you will never see more than a little tiny part of the whole picture, and that part may be distorted by the fact that what you’re seeing is relative, such as in the story of the blind men and the elephant. Or it can be distorted by the fact that your prior conditioning has put little log jams in the way, and you’re not totally able to react in an open way. You might also recognize that when you make your choices, which choices are you making? Are you seeking something positive in your life, or are you seeking to minimize your discomfort? Are you then acting in a “martyrish” way? That’s really an act of selfishness, because you don’t have the courage to face whatever would come down if you made the other decision.

What I think we’re supposed to be doing here is to look at what you’re calling a “selfish” act and calling an “unselfish” act, examining thoroughly in terms of the people involved. The ultimate good, not just this little close thing that you can see, and whether or not you’re acting in a way so as to maximize your life or make a positive experience. You are responsible for your own life! Nobody else is responsible for it.  You are here to work on you. You have chosen a whole set of people and conditions around you to help you, teach you, and help you grow, that you’ve been given responsibility for or duties or obligations to, or you’ve given your word to.

Only you know what price tag you’re willing to pay in terms of those relationships. Those relationships should be productive, not only for you but also for the other people involved. If they’re not productive, they bear very close examination. You want to be making your choices based on improving your life instead of minimizing its discomfort. What can appear to be a “selfish” act can be the most unselfish act possible!

COMMENT:  I have come to the conclusion that there are two sides to “selfishness” – there’s “selfish” and “selfless”. When you’re dealing with it in a negative sense, with negative attitudes (martyrdom), then you’re really not being selfish. It’s selfless.

MARILYN: No. I don’t quite agree with that. I really don’t! The “martyr” role is basically a selfish role, unless it is fully understood. Jesus put Himself in what we call a “martyr” role, but if you had the chance to talk to the man, He would explain to you that He did not see Himself in that role. It’s something we’ve chosen to see Him in. The martyr role is essentially a selfish role.  “Selflessness” means acting beyond the sense of self (i.e., you’re not acting in terms of what comes back to you). And we’re back to the “altruistic” type of thing. But from what perspective and level are we dealing? What reference are we dealing with?

COMMENT: In a sense, we could take the word “martyr” and throw it out of the dictionary. There’s no true martyrdom, because only we see him as a martyr. He did not see Himself as a martyr.

MARILYN: Not true. Well, Joan of Arc, I’m sure, felt that there was something worthy of her paying the price tag that she paid. We would see her very definitely as “martyred”. But I’m sure that she believed wholeheartedly in what she was doing. So from her perspective, it was not necessarily an act of martyrdom, it was an act of belief.

COMMENT: Some people ask me what I’m being a martyr for, but from my level of consciousness, I don’t feel that I’m being a martyr.

MARILYN: Okay. So, actually, it’s their problem, not yours. You’re just put in a position where you have to defend yourself or the position you’re in. Okay.

I want to go back to one of the final things that the Guides said. They said that this course was on “Illusions of Self”.  I think it’s important to understand that the whole objective of this study is to see the illusions that we have about ourselves, each one individually.

You asked me a couple of weeks ago about going out and talking with people about it, and I said, “No, don’t do that.” That’s not what the objective of this course was. The objective was for you to start seeing yourself, and to start seeing the traps and the boxes that you place yourself in, and start recognizing that most of the problems we have are in terms of our definitions and our programming. Once we start opening up and looking at ourselves a little more clearly, looking at life a little straighter, without all those slants and conditioning factors, we’re going to find that we’ve got a lot more freedom than we thought we had, that our growing is an internal, and not an external thing. You can’t help someone else do it. You can only be the kind of person you need to be. They say that example is the best teacher. So, you can’t teach anybody else, but you can live your life in such a way that you inspire another person to say, “I really like what I see. Just what is it that you do?” That’s probably the best way to teach in the whole world. You can’t preach at anyone. You’ll put him off.

I had someone come up to me the other day and tell me that he’s figured out exactly what’s going on in the world, and he’s got the whole problem figured out, and we’re going to go and do it!  I didn’t say anything, but I thought, “Well, that’s wrong. I’m not going to go do it, because that’s the fastest way to alienate people – preach at them!”

If what I am doesn’t speak loudly enough for you to hear it, I’ve got to work on myself more. The more I work on me, the louder what I am will speak. If what I’m saying is something that someone can adapt to help himself with, then I won’t have to make it happen. It will happen all by itself. What I’ve got to do is improve me and let my improved condition speak for itself. I cannot proselytize. “You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” In this field, that’s absolutely essential. If what I am doesn’t speak loudly enough, then I have to work on what I am a little more.

Any other questions?

COMMENT: What you’re saying is absolutely true, especially in education. I think one of the main problems with education is that the teachers preach too much. They have to teach by example. They have to do things that the children can actually see going on.  Some of the teachers do things that are not good. Teachers seem to be concerned mainly with making more money. But while you’re doing your job, you should adhere to your principles. You can’t say it’s bad to take drugs, for instance, and then go out and use drugs yourself.

MARILYN: What we’re trying to do here is to see ourse1ves and trying to get by some of the illusions that we have about ourselves.

COMMENT: I think parents should be responsible, too.  They preach one thing and then do just the opposite.

MARILYN: At this point, we can’t do very much about all the parents and all the teachers. All we can do is work with ourselves. The whole objective of this course is to “see the trap”. And the trap is the illusions that we build around ourselves. We build our illusions, or we give permission for our illusions to be built for us.  And that’s where we must start. We cannot change the world. We can change ourselves. We can grow, we can become more. And the more we become, the more valuable we are to the rest of humanity. All we can do is to work on our life. Everyone is responsible for his own life. To proselytize would be nice, but in this case, it wouldn’t work, because the work has to be done by each person himself, on himself.

If I work on me and I become a greater light, then I will illumine those around me. Once I become bright enough, or I become special enough in some way, or someone likes what he sees in me, then perhaps he’ll want some of it, too, or something similar to it. You can’t make carbon copies of yourself. You can only aid people where they are at the precise moment, and help them grow. You teach best by being an example. We can’t help other people out there with their illusions unless we first look at our own.

COMMENT: I’d like to mention a very interesting book I’ve read, Caring and {the rest is unintelligible}.  One chapter refers to really being true to yourself about your own feelings, because people pick up what you are, not what you say – especially children.

MARILYN: For a long time, we were told not to get angry in front of our children. But repressed hostility is definitely worse than honest anger. A child needs to know when he’s tripped your trigger, and it’s much worse for him if you’re so repressed that he’s wondering whether or not you’re going to kill him on the spot. That’s much worse than anger openly expressed!

COMMENT:  He (the author of the above-mentioned book) was saying that if your child comes and says to you, “Let’s play ball, Daddy,” and you really don’t feel like playing ball, but you say to yourself, “I’ll do it for a few minutes, even though I don’t feel like doing it,” the kid senses your attitude. So if you go out and play with the kid, what you’re doing is teaching that child to lie. In a pretty far-fetched way, but you are teaching that child to lie. You’re better off saying, “I really don’t feel like doing it. I’m very tired, but I know you want to play ball, so for fifteen minutes I’ll play with you.” Tell him that you’re tired. Be honest. If you’re not honest with yourself, this is what happens. People can sense the feelings behind the words.

MARILYN: Psychologically, they’re starting to open up a great deal. A lot of what I read right now are heavily psychological in nature. I didn’t start out deliberately to study psychology.  It just seems to be an area I’m exploring right now. There are a lot of changes that we’ll be able to see, and most of them will have to start with us.

The problem with doing all of this is that you’re automatically thinking, “Oh, I can see that in my wife, or I can see that in  my child, or in the guy I work with.”  You’ve got to stop seeing it outside of yourself, and see it inside first, because the only space you have to work with is what’s inside of you. If you think the changes that you want to make in your life will come from the outside, you’re playing with your own head. That’s the biggest illusion. The really big one!

I think we’ll close this session now. My feeling is that it’s been valuable to me. I hope it’s been as valuable to you as it’s been to me. I’ve learned an awful lot. I didn’t believe it when we started out, but I really think now that I’ve got a better perspective of what the “trap” is. And that was the objective of the class – to start seeing the trap. And the traps are multiple.

COMMENT: There are traps all around us.

MARILYN: No!  No, no, no. The trap is us.

COMMENT: I know, but…

MARILYN: But you’re saying “but”.  It’s not all around us. The trap is us. We can sit here from now ‘til Doomsday and discuss ninety thousand traps, but bottom line, we’re our own trap. The experiences we’ve chosen for ourselves, and the experiences can be a lesson or a trap.

COMMENT: I agree.

MARILYN: So, I hope everybody got as much out of this course as I did.


I was really relieved to have gotten all of this material channeled through, and to have it finished. I’m very pleased with the way it turned out – both for the students and for myself. I’ve learned a great deal as the course went on.

I found it particularly interesting to play back the tapes, because there was some material that I simply didn’t recall. I apparently was aware of it at the time that it came through, but I didn’t retain it.  And so in listening to the tapes, it’s sort of interesting that I got an education from the material that I’d been given.

Later on in the Fall, on the 21st of November of ’81, I was told by my Guides that I was to get the material published. I didn’t have any idea of how to go about any of this. Somewhere around that time, I got a call from Buz Myers, who was searching around in his mind for people he felt were qualified to do tapes for his tape club. He has known me for a while, and he knows I’ve done a great deal of healing work and metaphysical work, and he called to see if I’d cut some tapes.  I told him what I had available, and he said that he would be interested in hearing them. So we had decided to go ahead and publish the tapes.  They came out in the late Spring.

Well, I was given the information of getting a book published through my Inner Guide Meditation, and I was a little puzzled, because even though Buz was publishing the tapes, he wasn’t at that time publishing books. So I wasn’t sure how to go about this. I didn’t have a publisher on tap. I mentioned this to my Guides, and they very promptly ignored that.

Later on in the spring, when Buz was in town for some readings he was going to do in this area, I mentioned to him that I was supposed to be finding a publisher to get Illusions of Self  published as a book, and didn’t have a publisher. And he very quietly answered, “Yes, you do!”

And that’s how this thing came about. My guides seem to have wanted it done. I don’t make any great and wonderful claims for my Guides, other than I think they’ve done me a great deal of good, in the period of time that I’ve tried to develop my rapport with them.

I really feel that the book is not mine. It came through me, but I can’t claim credit for it. I’m pleased that I was the channel for it. I’m not minimizing my own participation.  I’m giving credit where credit is due – to my Guides. Apparently, they felt that it was important enough to bring down to our particular little world, because we have so much to contend with. I’m very pleased that we were able to do the work. I think it turned out pretty well.  I hope you’ve enjoyed taking it as much as I’ve enjoyed giving it. I hope you’ve learned as much as I have, and I hope that whatever the purpose that was to be served by the giving of this material is served.

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