Lester Levenson (1909 – 1994) was an American mystic, entrepreneur, and spiritual teacher, who founded the “Sedona Method” of emotional release and self-realization.
In 1952, at age 42, Lester, a physicist and successful entrepreneur, was at the pinnacle of worldly success, yet he was an unhappy, very unhealthy man. He had many health problems including depression, an enlarged liver, kidney stones, spleen trouble, hyperacidity, and ulcers that had perforated his stomach and formed lesions. He was so unhealthy, in fact, that after having his second coronary, his doctors sent him home to his Central Park South penthouse apartment in New York City to die.
Lester was a man who loved challenges. So, instead of giving up, he decided to go back to the lab within himself and find some answers. Because of his determination and concentration, he was able to cut through his conscious mind to find what he needed. What he found was the” ultimate tool for personal growth” — a way of letting go of all inner limitations. He was so excited by his discovery that he used it intensively for a period of three months. By the end of that period, his body became totally healthy again. Furthermore, he entered a state of profound peace that never left him through the day he died on January 18, 1994.
“I began by asking myself, ‘What do I want out of life?’ And the answer was happiness. Investigating further, I went into the moment when I was feeling happiest. I discovered something which to me was startling at the time. It was when I was loving that I was happiest. That happiness equated to my capacity to love rather than to being loved. That was a starting point.”
Lester had realized two truths that literally saved his life. The first was that his own feelings were the cause of all his problems, and not the world or the people in it, as he had previously thought. He also realized his own feelings were what he had struggled so hard and long against. And this struggle was what had destroyed his health and caused him to suffer in every way.
The second truth he discovered was that he had the inborn ability to let go of his feelings. He discovered how to completely discharge them and their negative influences from his life. Instead of struggling with them by suppressing, coping and venting as he had previously done, he discovered how to totally release them. This put an end to his struggle! He found permanent happiness. And, he found the more he released his feelings, the happier and healthier he became. In fact, within three months he was completely well, and he stayed well for over 40 more years!
Lester shared his discoveries with others. What Lester discovered firsthand is that we are all originally unlimited beings, bound only by the concepts of limitation that we hold in our minds. These concepts of limitation are not true; furthermore, because they’re not really true, they can easily be released or discharged. Lester’s experience made him understand that not only could he practice this technique himself, he could teach others how to do it as well. As a result, he began working with people, both in small groups and individually.
Since his discoveries happened so quickly and without warning or preparation, he had no language to describe his discoveries and what he was experiencing. The first place he looked for an appropriate language to use to help others was in the Bible. And he became good friends with several evangelical ministers. He then went on to read many books both from the west and the east in order to find the right language to be of service. He eventually settled on his own unique way of describing his experience and his own unique ways of sharing this experience in a useful way with others.
“In realizing how much I wanted to change things in this world, I saw how it made me a slave of this world; I made the decision to reverse that. And in the process of following out these two directions–actually unloading all the subconscious concepts and pressures in those directions–I discovered I was getting happier, freer, lighter, and feeling better in general.”
Lester believed strongly that personal growth was not dependent on any external source, including a teacher, and he did not want to be anyone’s guru. But, because of how elevated people felt around him, despite his protestations and attempts to keep it from happening, many of Lester’s students insisted on seeing him as a guru. So, in 1973, Lester realized that his teachings needed to be formalized into a system that he could allow others to teach—leaving him out of the equation. A way to transform his techniques for personal growth into a non-sectarian do-it-yourself system was devised, which is now called the Sedona Method, endorsed by people such as Lama Surya Das, who wrote: “The Sedona Method is a wonderful contribution to the field of self-acceptance and transformation. This is like an accessible, western form of Buddhist teachings that can free our hearts and minds from our self-made limitations and the old stories we tell ourselves.”
The story of Lester’s realization, in his words:
“I was at the end of my rope. I was told not to take a step unless I absolutely had to because there was a possibility that I could drop dead at any moment.
This was a terrible, shocking thing to suddenly be told that I couldn’t be active anymore, having been so active all my life. It was a horrible thing.
An intense fear of dying overwhelmed me, the fear that I might drop dead any minute. This stayed with me for days. I went through a real, horrible, low, spinning period there, in the grip of intense fear of dying or of being a cripple for the rest of my life in that I wouldn’t be able to be active. How could I take care of all that, and me. I felt that life would not be worthwhile any more.
This caused me to conclude with determination, ‘Either I get the answers, or I’ll take me off this earth. No heart attack will do it!’ I had a nice easy way to do it, too. I had morphine the doctors gave me for my kidney stone attacks.
After several days of this intense fear of dying, I suddenly realized, ‘Well, I’m still alive. As long as I’m alive, there’s hope. As long as I’m alive, maybe I can get out of this. What do I do?’
Well, I was always a smart boy, always made the honor roll. Even got myself a four-year scholarship to Rutgers University at a time when scholarships were very rare through competitive examinations. But what does this avail me? Nothing! Here I am with all this brilliance, as miserable and scared as can be.
Then I said, ‘Lester, you were not only not smart, you were dumb! Dumb! Dumb! There’s something wrong in your intellect. With all your knowledge, you’ve come to this bottom end! Drop all this knowledge you’ve so studiously picked up on philosophy, psychology, social science, and economics! It is of no avail! Start from scratch. Begin all over again your search for the answers.
And with an extreme desperation and intense wanting out-not wanting to die, I began to question, ‘What am I? What is this world? What is my relationship to it? What do I want from it?’
‘Well, what is happiness?’
‘But I am loved. I know several very desirable girls with beauty, charm and intellect who want me. And I have the esteem of my friends. Yet, I’m miserable!’ I sensed that the closest thing related to happiness was love. So I began reviewing and reliving my past love affairs, looking at the points where the little happiness that I had were. I began to pull up and dissect all my high moments of loving.
Suddenly, I got an inkling that it was when I was loving that I had the highest feeling!
I remembered one evening, a beautiful balmy evening, in the mountains when I was camping with Virginia. We were both lying on the grass, both looking up at the sky, and I had my arm around her. The nirvana, the perfection of the height of happiness was right there. I was feeling how great is love for Virginia! How wonderful is knowing all this nature! How perfect a setting!
Then I saw that it was my loving her that was the cause of this happiness! Not the beauty of the setting, or being with Virginia.
Then I immediately turned to the other side. Boy it was great when she loved me! I remembered the moment when publicly this beautiful, charming girl told the world that she approved of Lester, she loved Lester-and I could feel that nice feeling of approval. But I sensed that it was not as great as what I had just discovered. It was not a lasting feeling. It was just for the moment. In order for me to have that feeling continuously, she had to continue saying that.
So, this momentary ego approval was not as great as the feeling of loving her! As long as I was loving her, I felt so happy. But when she loved me, there were only moments of happiness when she gave me approval.
Days of further cogitation gradually revealed to me that this was correct! I was happier when I loved her than I was when I got that momentary ego-satisfaction when she loved me. Her loving me was a momentary pleasure that needed constant showing and proving on her part, while my loving her was a constant happiness, as long as I was loving her.
I concluded that my happiness equated to my loving! If I could increase my loving, then I could increase my happiness! This was the first inkling I had as to what brings about happiness. And it was a tremendous thing because I hadn’t had happiness. And I said, ‘Gee, if this is the key to happiness, I’ve got the greatest!’ Even the hope of getting more and more happiness was a tremendous thing, because this was the number one thing I wanted-happiness.
That started me on weeks and weeks of reviewing my past love affairs. I dug up from the past, incident after incident when I thought I was loving, and I discovered that I was being nice to my girlfriends, trying to get them to love me, and that that was selfish. That was not really love. That was just wanting my ego bolstered! I kept reviewing incidents from the past, and where I saw that I was not loving, I would change that feeling to loving that person. Instead of wanting them to do something for me, I would change it to my wanting to do something for them. I kept this up until I couldn’t find any more incidents to work on.
This insight on love, seeing that happiness was determined by my capacity to love, was a tremendous insight. It began to free me, and any bit of freedom when you’re plagued feels so good. I knew that I was going in the right direction. I had gotten hold of a link of the chain of happiness and was determined not to let go until I had the entire chain.
I felt a greater freedom. There was an easier concentration of my mind because of it. And I began to look better at my mind. What is my mind? What is intelligence?
Suddenly, a picture flashed of amusement park bumper-cars that are difficult to steer so that they continually bump into each other. They all get their electrical energy from the wire screen above the cars through a pole coming down to every car.
The power above was symbolic of the overall intelligence and energy of the universe coming down the pole to me and everyone else, and to the degree we step on the gas do we use it. Each driver of the cars is taking the amount of energy and intelligence that he wants from that wire, but he steers his car blindly and bumps into other cars, and bumps and bumps.
I saw that if I chose to, I could take more and more of that overall intelligence.
And so I dug into that. I began to examine thinking and its relationship to what was happening. And it was revealed that everything that was happening had a prior thought behind it and that I never before related the thought and the happening because of the element of time between the two.
When I saw that everything that was happening to me had a thought of it before it happened, I realized that if I could grab hold of this, I could consciously determine everything that was happening to me!
And above all, I saw that I was responsible for everything that had happened to me, formerly thinking that the world was abusing me! I saw that my whole past life, and all that tremendous effort to make money and in the end, failing, was due only to my thinking!
This was a tremendous piece of freedom, to think that I was not a victim of this world, that it lay within my power to arrange the world the way I wanted it to be, that rather than being an effect of it, I could now be at cause over it and arrange it the way I would like it to be!
That was a tremendous realization, a tremendous feeling of freedom!
I was so ill when I started my searching; I had one foot in the grave. And when I saw that my thinking was cause for what was happening to me, I immediately saw my body from my chin down to my toes as perfect. And instantly, I knew it was perfect! I knew the lesions and adhesions of my intestine due to perforated ulcers were undone. I knew everything within me was in perfect running order.
And it was.
Discovering that my happiness equated to my loving, discovering that my thinking was the cause of things happening to me in my life gave me more and more freedom. Freedom from unconscious compulsions that I had to work, I had to make money, I had to have girls. Freedom in the feeling that I was now able to determine my destiny, I was now able to control my world, I was now able to arrange my environment to suit me. This new freedom lightened my internal burden so greatly that I felt that I had no need to do anything.
Plus, the new happiness I was experiencing was so great! I was experiencing a joy that I had never known existed. I had never dreamed happiness could be so great.
I determined ‘If this is so great, I’m not going to let go of it until I carry it all the way!’ I had no idea how joyous a person could be.
So, I began digging further on how to extend this joy. I began further changing my attitudes on love. I would imagine the girl I wanted most marrying one of my friends, or the boy I would want her to marry least, and then enjoy their enjoying each other. To me, this was the extreme in loving, and if I could achieve it, it would give me more of this wonderful thing that I was experiencing.
And so I worked on it. I took a particular fellow, Burl, and a particular girl, and I wouldn’t let go until I could really feel the joy of their enjoying each other.
Then I knew I had it-or almost had it.
Then later on, I had further tests of this in talking to people who were opposing me no end when I was trying to help them. I would consciously feel the greatest love for them when they were attacking me. And the joy of loving them was so wonderful, I would, without any thought, thank them so profusely for having given me the opportunity of talking with them, that it threw them into a dither.
The glory of knowing what you are. It’s a tremendous experience, it’s an ecstasy, a euphoria. There are no real words to describe it because, well, we’re in an age where these things are not experienced and therefore not understood, so how can there be words for things that are not understood?”
There are no words to describe these feelings, they’re so beyond present understanding. So you pick the words you know best to describe it and that’s it. Paramahansa Yogananda uses the words ‘ever-new joy welling up every second,’ and that’s a practical way of describing it. At first, it’s a joy that spills over every second, just keeps pouring out, pouring out-you feel as though you can’t contain it. Later on, it resolves itself into a very profound peace, the most peaceful peace you could ever imagine. It’s a delicious peace which is far more comfortable than ever-new joy. But please, get the ever-new joy!”
It’s very easy to get stuck in the ever-new joy state. That’s what they call the ananda sheath. It’s the last veil we have to remove. It is the last wall we must break through. When you start this ever-new joy, it’s so good you just want to continue it. Also, you have no feeling of need to change, everything is so wonderful. But it isn’t the final state. The final state is the peace that passeth all understanding. It’s a deep, deep peace. You move in the world, the body moves, but you have absolute peace all the time. Bombs could be dropping all around you and you have that perfect peace, regardless of what’s going on.”
Additional quotes from Lester Levenson:
“If we want to be loved, the way to get it is to love. It is not only the very best method, but it is the only method. To receive love we must love because what we give out must come back. If I love you, I feel wonderful. If you love me, you feel wonderful. It’s the one who loves who feels great. So wanting to be loved is getting into a direction that can never be satisfied. The happy one is the one loving, the one giving.”
“Givingness is an attitude. We can always maintain an attitude of love. Most people who give are not giving lovingly. They’re giving because of the recognition they think they will get for giving: ‘Look at Me; I’m doing good’.”
“If I give a starving person a meal, in a few hours they will need another meal again. However, if I give them the principle of how to produce for themselves, then they will never go hungry again.”
“This thing called love is your basic nature. All the love in the universe is in your basic nature. You will discover that happiness-your happiness-equates to your capacity to love, and conversely all your miseries equate to your need to be loved. Just love, love, love and you will be so happy and healthy and prosperous. Remember, you need to release your non-love feelings. Try it, you will like it.”
“One of the things that happened in my process to love all was I discovered my identification with others. I saw that we are all related, we are all inter-connected. Each mind is like a radio broadcasting and receiving station; that we are all tuned into each other unconsciously-that we are just not aware of it. I also saw that life was meant to be beautiful…meant to be happy all the time with no sorrow. And to be with perfect health. And so after reaching that high point of understanding in 1952, I have wanted to help others to discover what I had discovered.”
When we get in tune, our capacity to love is so extreme that we love everyone with an extreme intensity that makes living the most delightful it could ever be.”
“Some of us are seeking happiness where it is and as a result are becoming happier. And others are seeking it blindly in the world where it is not and are becoming more frustrated.”
“If we could only just be, just be, we could see our infinity. We could see that we are the all.”
“The only growth there is, is the elimination of ego.”
“Growth is transcending yourself, your habitual self, which is none other than ego.”
“First, we start on the path to escape misery, then we taste the Self and want it because it tastes so good.”
“On this path you constantly give up trouble.”
“What you do to yourself, it being of your own doing, only you can undo it.”
“The best place to grow is right where you are, the best time is now.”
“Be proud of your spiritual accomplishments. Be happy with them. Be proud of them to yourself.”
“It takes more than faith. It takes knowledge. You start with faith, but you must convert it to knowledge. You must test it out, and then you know it.”
“You can get understanding without having to put it into words.”
“There isn’t anything that happens that can’t be used. there’s no incident that can’t be used as a teacher.”
“We are all Gods acting like goddamned fools.”
“All unhappiness is caused by our trying to be limited, to be an ego. The more we are our Self, the happier we are. We will never be completely happy until we are completely being our Self.”
“The original state for all Beings is Love. Out troubles are due only to our covering over thus natural state.”
“My definition of real is: That which never changes is real. The reality is changeless. It is absolute — truth never changes. It is always true.
Let me give you an illustration that comes from the East: You’re walking along the road at dusk and there’s a rope on the ground. You imagine it to be a snake. Then you get all wrought up and involved in the fear of that snake and what it can do to you.
Now the snake represents the world. The rope represents the reality. The rope is harmless, emotionless and changeless.
But that snake is a terrible, dangerous thing.
The world is like that snake, an imagining, an illusion. All questions of the world are like questions about the snake. Will the snake attack me? How can I protect myself from the snake, and so forth and so on.
It’s all about something that really isn’t! The reality is the rope The reality of the world is the Beingness behind it.
When you get your realization, the world doesn’t disappear, but your knowledge of it changes completely. Instead of the world being separate, out of your control, you discover that it only exists because of your Beingness. You’re image-ing the whole thing.
Then you see it as a dream, while before it seemed to be so real to you. That’s the difference before and after realization.
But as long as you think the rope is a snake, you’re involved with it.”
“That place where there is no more ego, there we find god, there we find our very own self. And I repeat, in order to do this it must be a full time occupation. And it can go on no matter what we are doing. In the background we can always have this subject sort of in the back of our mind, always seeking who am I, what am I. Always using some method or other.
What happens if we don’t use this method? We are going along with the delusion, we are going along with the ego play and strengthening it. Anyone who is not growing is going the other way. Anytime during the day that we are not on this subject we are going the other way. And we cannot make the goal if we spend three, four hours a day on the subject and twenty hours a day on the ego. What we gain in the three, four hours we more than lose in the twenty hours.
So if we want realization, and there isn’t anyone who cannot get it this lifetime, we must make it fulltime. When we do it becomes easier as time goes on. We’ve developed a habit of looking for and letting go of the ego. It gets to be a joy because every time, every time we let go of a bit of ego we are a bit happier, our world becomes a much nicer place, our miseries get less and it’s more noticable during the low points that our bottoms just don’t go down as far as they used to before.
And if you want to check your growth, check it on your low points. And some day that low point is up in the realm of happiness. So when you go down you’ll go down to happiness and when you move up you move up into the so-called ecstacies. Then you’re what I call over the hump. No one has to tell you to follow this path when you get that far, you know without question that this is the way, this is the happiness that you had always been seeking. This is everything that everyone is seeking but some of us, some of them, are seeking it in the wrong direction. But now that we have found the right direction we never let go of it.
So every time we let go of a bit of ego, we let go of a bit of unhappiness. And bit by bit every day, all day, continuing this process you will discover relatively rapid results.
And letting go of ego is the way to all this.”
“Every thought we have is necessarily a thought of limita¬tion. Let go of thought, – get still.
The methods are, as we know, to get quiet. Quiet the mind. The moment the mind is quiet enough, this infinite Being that we are becomes self-obvious. So the method is very simple: quiet that mind enough so that you see this infinite Being that you are. Now the moment you see it, the moment you see this infinite Being that you are, you’ll immediately go to work to undo the re-maining thoughts that you are not it. And when there are no more thoughts, there’s only the infinite Being left.
Very oddly, what you are seeking is the very closest thing to you. Every time you say “I” that’s It. When you say “I,” you’re talking about the infinite Being. When you say “I am a body” you’re saying “I, the infinite Being, am a limited body with a lim¬ited mind.” It’s really as simple as all that. But simplicity does not mean it’s easy to let go of the habits that you have been hang¬ing onto for eons.
This, that everyone is seeking, the thing that every¬one calls happiness, is nothing but the infinite Self that we are. Everyone, in his every act, is seeking this infinite Self that he is, calling it by other names: money, happiness, success, love, etc. Having been told this, -and again, we’ve been told this many times before, – why don’t we just be what we are and stop trying to be what we are not, – a limited body? Can anyone answer that? Why don’t we stop being limited?
Q: Because we can’t.
Lester: You mean an infinite Being can’t stop being limited?
Q: Because we don’t want to.
Lester: Right. We don’t want to!
Q: The infinite Being doesn’t want to?
Lester: Yes. I, the infinite Being, think I am a lim¬ited body, and I’ve been doing this so long that I, the infinite Being, don‘t want to let go of constantly assuming I am this limited body. Does that make sense?
Lester: Every time you say “I” without going any fur¬ther, you’re talking about the infinite Being that you are, but you immediately add to it “am this body.” If you would only just say “I-I-I” from here on, you’d get full realization, because as you’re saying “I-I-I” you’re concentrating on “I” and not saying, “I am a little body with needs.”
So there’s no one who is not every moment experiencing the infinite Being that he is. As long as he experiences an “I” he is experiencing this infinite Being that he is.
However, you don’t want to see that. You want to be the body. So, what is required? First, saying to yourself “I am not this body, I am not this mind; then what am I?” If we reject this body and mind enough, what we are becomes self-obvious.
We can never become an infinite Being because we are that. We can just let go of the concepts that we are not it. We can just let go of the concepts that we are a body, a mind. The first thing needed is the desire to let go of this limited beingness that we think we are. A very strong desire to be the infinite Being that we really are is the only thing that we need to get there quickly.
But, as he said, we don’t want it. If we really want¬ed It, we would have It. There is a difficulty, of course, and what is the difficulty? It’s the habit; it’s the unconscious habitual think¬ing; it’s the mind. So we attack it by attacking this unconsciously very-thinking mind. The mind is the only cover over the infinite Being that we are. We must stop thinking long enough to see what we are, and that “long enough” can be just one second. If you would stop thinking for one second (thinking includes the unconscious thinking too), -if you would stop thinking for one second, the tre¬mendous liberating shock of seeing what you are, would cause you to use this infinite power that is yours, to scorch the mind. The mind can be scorched in large amounts, each and ever-y time we will, just for a moment, drop into that unlimited state of no think¬ing.
I guess the next question is: How do we create the de¬sire for it? If the desire is strong enough, anyone can see and fully be the infinite Being in a matter of weeks, months, a few years. If anyone of you had a strong desire to see this infinite Being that you are and just kept that desire only, in a few months you would see and remain as the infinite Being that you are. You would stop im-agining yourself to be a limited body. So the key is desire.
When you desire to be a body-beautiful, a body-healthy, all these thoughts prevent you from seeing the infinite Being that you are. You simply must exchange all your desires for the one desire to discover your infinite real Self, I’d like some questions now on what I’ve said so that I can get closer to your wishes.
Q: While doing “What am I?” I looked at the stars and I got an idea that I could be the stars. Then I talked to someone else and they said. “No. you don’t do that.” And I thought. “Well, for God’s sakes. I am going to find out how to do it!”
Lester: You’re talking about a method called Self In¬quiry, which is really the very top method. The final question we all have to answer is: What am I? And when that answer comes, that’s It. So why not pose that question at the beginning? When you pose the question “What am I?” whatever answer the mind gives cannot be right because the mind is the cover over your real Self. The mind is the thing that limits you. The method is to hold only the question “What am I?” If another thought comes in. quickly stop it by saying to yourself. “To whom is this thought? Well, to me. Well, what am I?” And you’re right back on the track.
Q: I see. Thank you.
Lester: Now there are just a rare few on our planet who can successfully use that method. Therefore I suggest we use it this way: always seek the answer to “What am I?” No matter what you do during the day, whether in meditation, reading and so forth, in back of your mind always keep that question poised and posed, ready and waiting for an answer: “What am I?… What am I?” I use “what” rather than “who” because “who” is a personal pro¬noun and tends to lead us into being the body. “What” is more im¬personal. But this question should always be held. No matter what path we follow, no matter what method we use, we should always hold in the background “What am I?” And if we do that, eventually we must see the full answer.
Q: Pertaining to that, how many times does one ask the question?
Lester: Every time a thought, a stray thought, comes into the mind, we must say, “To whom is this thought? Well, it’s to me. Then, what am I?” This will have to be repeated after each stray thought.
Q: But if no thoughts come then it is not to be said?
Q: You wait then for an answer.
Lester: Wait to see; you don’t wait for an answer, an answer would come from the mind.
Q: You wait to see?
Lester: Yes, you wait to see. The Self becomes self¬ obvious. All of a sudden It’s there and you realize It has always been there, that you have been looking away from it by deluding yourself into thinking you’re a body, a mind. And then you see yourself as all beingness. You become every person, every animal, every insect, every atom in the universe. That the beingness of the universe is only your beingness, is what you discover. It’s there; It’s there right now! But you are looking away from It all the time. When the mind is quieted enough, It’s there. It’s the “I” that I am, -that’s It. There’s nothing closer to you than that. Most of the time you are seeking It out there, through a body, and It isn’t out there; It’s the “I” in here, that is the infinite Being.
Holding only that question is not easy and therefore I suggest holding it in general. Get in the habit of always seeking what you are, no matter what method you’re using. And when qui¬etness of mind comes, to the degree that there’s no other thought on your mindbut “What am I?” this stilling of all the other thoughts makes your Self self-obvious to you. It’s right there where you are, wherever you are, – right where the “I” is.
So again, hold that question, – no matter what method you use, until the answer shows itself, until it becomes obvious.
Q: It seems very hard.
Lester: It’s hard to let go of the habit of thinking every moment that you are a limited body. We’re just bombarding our¬selves all the time with the thought: I am a body; I am a body; I am a body. This goes on all the time so that we don’t see the in¬finite Being that we are. It’s a constant bombardment of: I am a body with involvement.
Meditation is an attempt to quiet the mind by holding one thought so that other thoughts die away. By holding that one thought, – if we can get to the place where just that one thought is there. —that’s enough quieting to see the infinite Being that we are. There isn’t a method that doesn’t try to effect the quieting of the mind so that the infinite Being that we are can become self-obvious.
Q: When you say “self-obvious” what does your real Self feel like?
Lester: When you get toward the end, as Vivekananda said, you see that there never was anything but “I” all alone. Now, if there’s nothing but “I” all alone, then “I am everything, every¬one,” is your feeling. You look upon every other body as equally your body. You see everyone as you; just as you see your body as you, you see everyone as you.
The feeling is indescribable. It’s such an intense ex¬perience, far beyond anything that limitation today will allow, that you’ll never know it without experiencing it. But, from the level where we are, it’s the thing we call happiness. It’s joy unlimit¬ed, – infinite joy. At first it comes on as an elation; it’s over¬whelming; it’s hard to contain; it gets to be uncomfortable. You get slap-happy, punch drunk, ecstatic; it gets to be annoying. And then you work at it until it fall s a way and what’s left is a very deep, profound, delectable peace. It’s a peace that is so much better than the extreme joy that you had before, that you don’t look for that joy any more. The joy state is not the ultimate; the ultimate is the peace state. Every one of us can get a taste of it at times.
Q: Then it’s possible to come across this and then lose it?
Lester: Oh yes. Many people do. The first time we really drop into it, we are not able to maintain it because the habit of thinking takes over again. And the moment we’re thinking, we are thinking we are limited. Every thought must be a thing of lim¬itation.
Let go of the game of being limited; let go of the world. Don’t try to control it. Don’t try to enjoy it. Take all your joy from within. Then, what was formerly the game assumes a sameness picture. Everything becomes the same. If everything is the same, and it is in the Absolute Truth, where can there be a game? If you get caught up in a game, you’re caught up in an eternal illusion. The game will never end. And if you’re in the game, you’re away from your infinite Beingness. There is always a certain limitation in the game that will always keep you from being fully satisfied.
So there is a step above the game of playing we are bodies and that step is where everything becomes exactly the same. And that exact sameness is only you, your beingness. There is an infinite Oneness left and that infinite Oneness is you and is your beingness. It’s beingness being all beingness. And there’s no separation; there’s only beingness, being all beingness.
Now, of course it takes experiencing it to really know what this beingness is. I am convinced that the best description of the top state is Beingness being all Beingness.
Q: How can I increase my desire for It?
Lester: Only you can do it. No one can do it for you. This is the unique thing about it. You have to do it. The grace we hear of always exists. It’s the inner beingness that we are making us uncomfortable until we reestablish the original state. Desire for happiness is the grace. It’s always there. All we need to do is to recognize it and take it.
Q: How does God get made into man? Isn’t it somehow sacrilegious to try to change back?
Lester: No. Anyone who tells you that doesn’t want you to attain the top state. But it happens this way: It’s like going to sleep at night. You dream you’re born into a little infant body; then you are a week old, a year old; then twenty, then forty; and you dream you have problems and problems and problems. Re¬member, this is only a night dream. This goes on and on, and you get so tired of it that you dream the body dies. Then you wake up. Where did you ever change yourself while in that dream? You didn’t! You say it never was; it was all concocted in my mind, right?
That’s exactly how we do it in this waking state. This waking state is a sleep state. We are totally asleep to the reality of this infinite Beingness that we are. We are no more awake to the Truth right now than when we are asleep at night. We are just dreaming that we are awake. Actually this is a sleep state that we need to awaken from, and when we do, then we say, “Oh, my gosh, it never was! I never was a limited body! I was always that infinite Being that I am!”
So we mentally create a dream called the waking state of the world. However, it’s just a dream-illusion. But to recog¬nize that it’s a dream, you must wake up out of this state. Does that make sense? So the answer to “How did we do this?” is that we are dreaming it!
Lester: Yes, deliberately. You see, we start off as infinite Beings in a passive way.
We go down to the bottom, that’s where we are now, – then go back to the top and again see our infinity. But after going through that, there’s a positive know¬ingness of our infinity, whereas before it was a passive knowing¬ness.
It’s something like this: “Perfect health” is a meaning¬less term to someone who was born perfectly healthy and stays that way all his life; he doesn’t positively know what it is. And yet, it’s a nice state when he’s in it. But he’s passively healthy; he cannot fully appreciate it. However, if he got very sick and was on the verge of dying for many years and then reestablished the perfect¬ health state, then that perfect-health state would be far more mean¬ingful to him than it was before he got sick. And this is the silly thing we do to ourselves: We go from infinity down to where we are and back up to infinity with a positiveness of knowing the infinity that we are. But we pushed, on the way down, in a way that we lost sight of what we were doing. And if we look within, we’ll discover this.
Q: That’s the first time live heard a sensible expla¬nation of the whole mess. First time it’s ever been explained why we’ve been pulled down.
Lester: O.K., now go back up.
Q: Is there one person doing this?
Lester: There is one Beingness doing this. I think the best example of this is that of the ocean and the drops. We, the ocean of beingness, imagined little tiny circles around parts of us that we called drops; and this drop says. “I am separate from that drop and separate from all the other drops.” It’s an imagined cir¬cle around part of the ocean calling itself a drop. But actually every drop is the ocean. It has all the qualities of the ocean: it’s wet, it’s salty, it’s H2O, and so forth. I think that example might make sense. Or, it’s like a comb and each tooth says to the other. “I am separate from you.” It’s all one comb, and we are the teeth saying that we are separate, when in actuality it’s just one comb. Remember, you are the one infinite ocean of Beingness. It is the “I” that you are. Seek It. see It, and forever hold It!”