Our subject is freedom. It’s always the same. How do we become free, free from the limitations of dimensionality? The way we become free is simple, and it’s complicated. It’s simple in theory, that is to say, all we have to do is stop our thoughts. When thought stops, a doorway opens into dimensions that are pure and unassociated. They’re nonbinding realities. They’re non-samskaric, which simply means that they’re beautiful, they’re ecstatic. The consciousness of the worlds that we can get to through thought—those dimensions are very limited. They’re limited by time and space, a sense of past, present and future.

We seek a freedom we haven’t experienced yet, and we seek an ecstasy we haven’t known. Mostly, I think, we seek our own innocence, a state of joy in which we don’t feel age, a body, desires or aversions. There’s a very pure feeling of beingness, of aliveness that’s always there.

We become used to thinking that attainment in self-discovery is external. We get used to the idea that we have to go someplace or that something can pass us by. In other words, we think of inner attainment as having a dimensionality, a physical structure, because that’s how our mind looks at things.

Our mind is very visual. We look at the world and we see up, down, back, forward; we’re caught up in calendars and watches; we like to look at things very physically. We like to think that consciousness and the mind are dimensional, and they certainly are not. Dimensionality only exists because the mind can perceive life that way, but that’s only one simple method that the mind has for perceiving itself, for perceiving life.

Freedom is a difficult thing because we think it’s difficult. If you were sitting in a pastoral environment—perhaps you lived in Hawaii, your needs were simple, the rent was paid, the food was provided and there was an instructor you could go and see on a fairly regular basis—perhaps in an environment like that, a stress-free environment in paradise with nothing else on your mind, you could sit and learn to meditate. Perhaps. But as you know, life for most people isn’t like that. We have to make a living. We have to deal with automobiles, insurance, income tax. We have to deal with health, hygiene, shopping.

We have to deal with a lot of things, which is why a long time ago they invented the ashram, the spiritual household, where a certain amount of time was spent by each individual in maintaining a physical location, in cleaning the house, in maintaining the gardens, maybe growing some food, but a lot of time was set aside for meditation and prayer. That was the ideal. The idea was you could go lead a fairly simple life, get out of the social system, which is so demanding, and have some time to meditate, hopefully to be with an instructor of self-discovery who was much further along in their understanding of freedom and their attainment of personal freedom than you were.

The problem, of course, with monasteries, ashrams, convents, is very often the director of such an institution is no further along than the people who study there or that the structure becomes so political. Ideally, everyone would be selfless and kind and working for each other’s enlightenment, the enlightenment of the whole universe. That’s usually not the case. Usually there are people who mean well, who obviously have an aspiration of some type for truth or just want to get away from the world, but usually these institutions become extremely political. In other words, they’re really small societies, and much of what you hope to avoid in societies you just find there.

I personally have lived in a number of spiritual communities over the lifetimes and directed a number of them. I feel that in today’s world, one is better not to live in such a place because one can, with a minimal amount of effort, earn a very large amount of money these days since there isn’t as much of a class system as we had in other lifetimes. A person can really set up their own little ashram, their own little community, in their own little apartment or condominium or house, do commerce with the world and not be undone by it. I’ve devised a way, through computer science largely, of making a great deal of money in relatively short periods of time and in a way that will actually develop the mind, further the mind’s awareness, and that will assist one in being able to meditate, in other words, and be free.

If your ashram is your own, no one’s going to tell you what to do. You don’t have to deal with a power infrastructure. You don’t have to deal with whether someone likes you or not. You can cut your own way through the universe. I think it’s better. I think that we just give up one dictator for another when we leave society and move into an ashram. I think it’s better to make our own way and have our own spot and then we can call the shots. If we make mistakes we make them, and if we succeed, then we succeed.

But before launching on your career of self-discovery, I would make a few suggestions as to what matters and what doesn’t. To begin with, what you’re trying to do is to be free. I think it’s good to keep it simple. There’s a lot of religious jargon and mystical jargon and a lot of people seem to get caught up in jargon like they get caught up in ashrams and power structures and they never become free, but they become masters of jargon and power structures. I think freedom is a good word, and it’s an English word and it will do—freedom from the limitations of the world, freedom from the limitations of the mind as we know the mind in day-to-day life—the thinking mind, the doubt-ridden mind, the fearful mind, the aggressive mind, the desiring mind.

In other words, what we’re seeking to be free from are the constraints of civilization, if they’re going to try and interfere with the process of trying to live a free life. But if we live in a somewhat free society, the issue then is strictly being free from our personality, our sense of self. It’s a very low-tech operating system, the self, the personality. It limits us and binds us to being one very conventional person with likes, dislikes, history, hopes, desires and fears. That’s a very unhappy state compared to what else is available in the world of mind.

Self-discovery means that we’re going to push back the envelope of personality. There’s something outside of personality. There’s a deeper, more complete self outside of personality. It’s not a personal self, which is a little bit frightening to some people initially, because we have become so used to who we are, even though we hate it, we’re afraid to lose that. We’re like the person who’s made a little bit of money and they put it in a bank. They’re afraid of investing it because they might lose it, but at the same time the inflation rate is greater than the interest rate, so little by little what they’ve saved is being lost. But they’re afraid to take a chance and lose it.

Self-discovery requires a bit of courage and a belief in a feeling. I can’t define it more than that for you—except to say that there’s a feeling of ecstasy, of freedom, which is available to a person depending upon how gutsy they are, how patient they are, how hopeful they are and how tough they are. You have to be very, very gutsy to look the world in the face, society in the face, families, power structures and to walk away from all that. To decide that you’re not going to fit in, nor are you going to try not to, but you’re just going to follow the beat of a different drummer—your own. That’s pretty gutsy because everyone is applying pressure for everyone else to conform. If you think about it, the constraints that humankind has set upon itself, what they’ve agreed upon as acceptable, is so narrow, so rigid. If you just don’t wear your clothes one day, they’ll lock you up. No, that’s pretty rigid! That’s a pretty simple action. In other words, everything’s been so defined that it doesn’t really leave one a lot of room to move.

If you seek to practice self-discovery, you’ve got to be pretty gutsy. You have to be willing to buck the system, to buck everyone you’ve known, who for some reason seems to have a vested interest in how you turn out and how you are or who you are. Essentially what a person does is you either leave everybody you know and go start off on your own, or you have to be willing to tough it out and manage to be who you are or what you were becoming in spite of pressure from those around you, if you choose to stay around them. One way is not better than the other; it’s strictly a personal matter.

I don’t recommend that people leave everyone they know and leave their relatives. I don’t recommend that they stay. It’s a personal matter. But what must occur is you must be able to change who you are and maintain that new identity. And then change it again and again and again. If you find that you can’t do that around people you know well, then it’s better to not know people closely. Or if you find that you can do that and you enjoy the people around you and you’re strong enough not to allow what they say and don’t say to influence you, then that’s fine too. It doesn’t really matter; it’s a personal thing.

You’ve got to be pretty gutsy because the party line is pretty heavy on the planet Earth. Always has been. It gets heavier—every 50 years or so it gets heavier. As education has advanced us, it’s also defined us more. There’s very little room to move, as I said, in the structures of the human system. My advice is to blend. To do what’s necessary, unless you’re in a political system that’s very bad, in which case you have to get involved in overthrowing it. Obviously, if you’re in a situation with a dictator, you can’t live with that and their taking away all your freedoms. But if you live as most of us do in a fairly free society, political involvement is really not necessary.

If the boat is going in the right direction, then we leave it to the captain and the crew to run it. If it’s going in a direction that isn’t right or headed for the rocks, then we have to have a mutiny. If we can’t talk the captain and the crew into turning it around, if we can’t convince them, then the mutiny is necessary to save all of us.

There are always those who will press their advantages, press their desires, press their egos—their own personal needs or views of what life should be for themselves—forward, and they really don’t care what happens to anybody else. Everyone else is expendable, in their view. Such leaders have to be overthrown. Hopefully the world will eventually have a democratic system everywhere. It is the best system, obviously, because it gives us the most latitude.

But the democratic system is still ruled by the people in it, and the people in a democratic system are not necessarily very aware. From the point of view of a person who seeks personal freedom, they’re still bound very much by the myths of their culture, by their religious structures, which they don’t even necessarily understand but have just been handed down to them. They’re bound by sociologies, psychologies, by the limitations of culture, by ethnic limitations, all kinds of things.

A person who seeks to be free wants to blow past all of that because they sense, feel, perhaps remember or project that there is another condition that can be attained—a condition of ecstasy, a condition so far different from what the people of planet Earth experience that it’s not even discussible. We’re not discussing a minor change in how a person perceives life but such a radical departure that it’s as if one were not human. Yet, of course, we’re just redefining human. We’re saying human can be something more than most people experience it. But it’s so different from the normal human psyche that there is no point of comparison. It’s as if you were going to leave, as in the movie Cocoon where some of the old folks decided to leave the planet Earth and go with these beings from another world, the Altereans, and learn a whole different way to be, a different way to live, a different system in which you don’t grow old, you don’t die and there’s no aggression, there’s no hate.

One pushes the forefront of awareness back not just a little bit but through eternity. What is the mind of God like? That’s what we want to find out. What is the mind of infinity like? What is it like to not have a human mind but to have a mind that’s like the sky that goes on forever, that can embrace feelings and awarenesses that the structural human mind, as most people know it, can’t even begin to contemplate, let alone experience.

So the occultist sets their sails in a different direction. It’s not a physical direction. Whatever you can do physically here is just in a physical dimension. It’s an inner direction because we know that within the universe there are different possibilities, there are different dimensions. We call them states of consciousness. If we can place our mind in those dimensions, then we’re free.

There are larger views of the world. There’s reincarnation, where we wake up a little further and we see that there’s a cycle to life, we see what happens before birth and after death, which most people don’t know about. There are cosmic cycles where we can, with deeper understanding, view how the whole universe works—well, I don’t know about the whole universe, but parts of it. We can gain those understandings. There are understandings of dimensions and how they work, just like there’s physical science, understanding matter and energy.

But the real undertaking, as I said before, is pretty simple—it’s to be free, because those understandings can trap you too. You can get so caught up in learning all about reincarnation, you can get so caught up in learning about structures, fascinating though they may be, that you’re not free; you’re just studying something else. It’s a different textbook, that’s all.

Freedom then is an inner issue. To find freedom, what you really need is a very quiet life. It’s a life in which you really don’t interface too much with almost anything. You don’t want to define yourself. This may sound nebulous, but it’s not, it’s exact. But it’s exact outside of the world of words.

If you define yourself too much, then you know who you are. It’s a trick that the mind plays on itself. What you want to do is be like one of the characters in the Bugs Bunny cartoon, or Daffy Duck, rather, where the guy with the eraser, the guy who is writing the cartoon, suddenly comes down and erases Daffy, and Daffy goes, “Wait a minute you guys!” He gets very put out, and they erase part of him and they put part back and there’s a surreal moment where the illustrator suddenly appears in the cartoon itself and he’s erasing this duck in front of us.

What we’re trying to do is erase ourselves. We’re trying to take a big gummy eraser, one of those big art gum erasers, and erase ourselves. We want to erase our past, everything we’ve known, everyone we’ve known, everything, no matter how beautiful or how horrible. We want to erase it. Simply because we’ve done it. It’s a wrap. We’ve seen it, we’ve experienced it. We know that what we want lies elsewhere. If we keep reviewing where we’ve been and who we’ve been, then that’s where we are and who we are. Whereas if we can erase all that and just forget about it and through the principles of self-discovery and occultism hurl our mind, our spirit, our energy and our life force in an outward bound mode, if we can push ourselves further and further into the stillness of eternity, then we’ve formed lighter identities, new identities, and those identities will fade and we’ll erase them again, and so on and so forth.

It’s an ever-outreaching process whereby the personality structure and the mind become more lucid and what we experience is a lighter, gradated reality. We experience a much more ineffable sense of being. This is the process of occultism; we’re erasing ourself because we’ve been there. We reformat ourself into a much lighter, brighter, happier, deeper more conscious being. Then, after we’ve explored the limitations of that particular new form, we blow it away and we do it again.

We’re continually reaching towards infinity. Infinity is not out there. We always like to think of it as external. It’s not in there. It just is. We want to get to know infinity because we don’t feel it’s intrinsically frightening, it’s what is on the other side of life. Since we are life, since we exist, we don’t feel that this process is bad or evil or fearful. We’ve come out of nowhere and here we are. Is there something wrong with that? Is there something to fear? Is there something to be afraid of? We’re going to die. Why should one be afraid of death?

In other words, life has made you who you are. You must trust that life will make you, unmake you, change you, shift you around. What’s to fear? Why don’t you trust the very thing that you are, that has created you and all of what you experience? Why are you so afraid? Of what? Of dying? Of living? Of pain? Of pleasure? There’s nothing to be afraid of. There’s only life and it goes on forever. Fear is personal. It’s inside your mind. It’s an emotion. You can push it aside and never be afraid of anything.

Life is just a series of experiences that the mind touches. The mind is unmodified by them unless it consciously adheres to them. If your mind consciously adheres to experiences then you will remember them. Then they become a part of your inventory. Then you identify with them. But by itself, life is just itself. It’s forever. It will always be and it always has been and it will never stop. You’re part of that, and you can’t divorce yourself from it because that’s how it is.

You and I are both life. Our bodies will pass away; between now and then, there’s just the experience of every moment. We like to call them moments—there isn’t really such a thing, there’s just is-ness, there’s just eternity. Those moments can be in more limited states or less limited states or beyond states. It just depends what you want, and if you like limitation, then you’ll stay in limited states. If you’d like less limited states, then you’ll find out how to get to those. If you don’t want any limitations at all, then you’ll learn how to go beyond all states of mind. It’s there to do.

You can do whatever you want, don’t you understand? There’s no real mystery to self-discovery. It’s just that most people are so basically unconscious all the time, even those who practice it, that they never sit down and think, “Well, God, I could do anything. I could become enlightened if that’s what I want to do. I could get married and have a lot of kids if that’s what I want to do. I could become rich if that’s what I want to do.”

The only thing you can’t do is become younger. Can’t do that, not till your next life, and that’s inevitable. But you can push back from the body consciousness and see your spirit, which is eternal, which never grows old or grows young or does anything. It just watches everything from somewhere inside us. It’s a patient watcher. It just observes everything you’re going through. All your desires, all the little dramas, all the fears, the anxieties, the hopes, the pain, the difficulty, the depression, that’s just your own mind. It’s all inside your own head, this magic theater that you call life. It’s just inside your mind. Nobody else has exactly the same scene going on, the same drama.

And you get so caught up in it. You get so caught up in the little dramas. It’s fun to go to a supermarket or a park or a shopping mall or someplace where human beings convene, where they do commerce. It’s fun to watch these beings and if you can stand back for a minute and you get a little distance, if you’re not so caught up in your own drama, if you can stand back, you realize that each of these people that’s walking around, they have a motion picture theater inside their mind. Each one is completely into the film they’re watching; they’re the main character. For some people it’s a tragedy, for some people it’s a comedy, for some people it’s a melodrama, and other people—everything just comes in and out of their little drama. But they’re so caught up in their own personal reality, literally, as to not see each other or see life, except in terms that add to or detract from their movie that they’re making inside their mind. It’s the funniest thing to watch.

Everybody’s just off in their own little webs of fear and desire and melodrama. You see the old lady sitting on the bench poisoning pigeons, feeding them the little strychnine gumdrops, right? (Audience laughs.) You see the young couple trying to get into each other’s pants, as if there was any question of whether it was going to happen. (Audience laughs.) That’s why they’re together, that’s not the issue. It’s funny, the gal’s worried about the little pimple she has on her face today and will Joey care? And Joey is not looking at the pimple, I assure you. That’s the least of his interests, it’s a little further down in the anatomical structure. But to her that’s the whole world, that pimple—you know, the human drama is so basically boring. It lacks much depth at all.

Philosophers are no different; they’re all caught up in their philosophies. That’s their house of cards. Religious leaders are caught up in their religious movements to the point where they forget about freedom. They get so busy making sure that everybody else gets free, and they get so frustrated in their religious movement and what happened to it. Everybody’s got their drama going, except the advanced occultist who just looks at it all and laughs and keeps becoming more and more free, very quietly gliding through different dimensional planes, doing the little bits of homework each day that allow one to work through the samskaras and through the karmas and gradually just becoming more and more free because they like that. It’s not a better condition. It’s just more real.

As an occultist, as you view the people of the world, they’re just like watching five-year-olds playing, and some of them are dangerous, they’re violent, they’re in that phase, Some are nonessential. None of them are helpful, particularly. If what you seek is freedom, the only person who can teach you anything, the only person who can help you is someone who’s already done it, who knows the way. No one else can do a damn thing for you but slow you down.

Let’s face it. If you knew how to do it, you’d be there now. You’re not. So the only person who can help you at all in the whole wide world, or persons, are individuals who have climbed Mt. Everest inside their own mind and gotten to the top and gotten back down and are different from it. If they just go up and come down and they’re the same—you can go into samadhi but after you come out of samadhi, if you’re still the same old creep, then what good was it? Then it’s just a rush. It’s just a brief journey into infinity, but then you come back and if you haven’t changed, if your view of life is not better, if there’s not less self, if you’re not more free, what good was samadhi?

You can go to India, and you can see gurus go into samadhi. Yeah, they really do. They can stop thought for half an hour, forty minutes. But then when they come out of samadhi, they’re nasty. They’re egocentric. Yes, they’re really going into samadhi; when you’re with them you can feel a lot of energy. But then they’re not very nice to the people around them, only when others are watching. They don’t really have a deep regard or understanding of what life is. It’s just a little trick they can do, a one-trick pony. They go up into samadhi and down. They go up the elevator and down. But if it doesn’t integrate with life, if you haven’t learned more about what life actually is, as opposed to your little dream of it, your little fantasy.

If you just want a larger fantasy, you don’t have to do self-discovery. You can just sit down and think anything you want. But that has nothing to do with the reality of the dissolution of the self and climbing outside of the structures that cause you so much pain or even the structures that bring temporary pleasure, which when gone causes pain. Or even the pain of relative happiness, which fools you into thinking how happy you are, placates you so that you don’t see that the happiness you’re experiencing is so limited because it’s an ego structure. You’re in the world of time and life and space and death.

Occultism is a step-by-step method whereby we extract ourselves from the human condition because we feel it crowds us. Yes, obviously if somebody doesn’t feel that, then it’s not a concern of theirs. But some of us just feel crowded wherever we go. We feel crowded by other people, we feel crowded by societal rules, we feel crowded by ourselves, mainly. We want to be in unhorizoned skies. And so those people practice self-discovery. They find out what it’s like, and they do it very well because it’s to their advantage. Whereas most people we observe who practice self-discovery just get caught up in a new description, a new “ism,” a new religion, a new god, a new political system, new language, new terminologies. But nothing changes. A few of them make it to the point where they go in and out of samadhi, but they don’t change. They just, as I said, they do a trick. They’re free for twenty minutes or a half an hour and then they’re back into the mire of “them,” their “them-ness;” they’re stuck in themselves.

I don’t have anything to do with any of that. I don’t teach that. I teach how to be free. I’ve learned myself. I keep changing always. I became enlightened because I couldn’t see any other alternative. I got so frustrated with myself, with any self. To be in oneself at any given moment for more than an infinitesimal time just doesn’t make any sense. Enlightenment just means you don’t have a structural self. It means you’ve flipped through the gradated realities. Nothing binds, nothing clings to you. You’re unaffected by everything. Ramakrishna compared it to air. When smoke gets in the air, the smoke will pass through the air and it won’t stay there. The air is unaffected. It clouds up and then it goes away. Whereas if the smoke passes through a building it gets all over it and it gets sooty, it stays there.

An enlightened person simply doesn’t have a structure. They’ll experience the desires, they may experience whatever is in the universe. But it doesn’t stick to them; it doesn’t form a new personality structure. They’re nonkarmic. Since there’s no structural self, there’s no sense of history, there’s no karma, there’s no cause and effect chain. A metaphysical principle, but it’s true. Whereas a person who has a structure, they have a seed, a core structure within themselves. Things affix to you—pasts, futures.

Enlightenment means you’re always free to roam through all states of mind, all states of infinity. You have just reached a more pure awareness, which is the mind of God. The mind of God is very pure, sometimes. There are other parts of it that are very bound up. It’s infinity, the mind of God. All states, all possible conditions are there, are apprehensible. There are things, of course, that there are no words for. We sit here on the oasis of human consciousness and the verbal plane trying to talk about something that we have to just go and see and do and feel and show and tell, touch—infinity in its different parts and forms.

People come to self-discovery for all kinds of reasons, and whatever you come to will be fulfilled. But hardly anybody seems to come to be free. So whatever dream you have, I’m sure it will come true. If you practice meditation, if you get involved with the occult principles, it makes you very powerful, gives you the power to fulfill your desires sooner. You’ll do that, I’m sure. But real self-discovery is about being free. It’s something very quiet. It’s something that you experience personally. It’s your own view, your own experience of reality. It happens when you meditate.

Naturally, you have to have enough money to be able to live in the right kind of place that’s conducive to meditation. You can’t be at the mercy of society, otherwise you can’t meditate well, there are too many demands and pressures. Naturally you have to be able to afford a teacher. Naturally you have to be able to clothe yourself, eat, do all those things. If you’re sophisticated, you’re going to need a sophisticated environment; if you’re simple, you’ll need a simple environment. But the world is expensive. If getting involved in the making and sustaining of one’s life is so complicated and takes so much energy and attention and gets you so bound up in the world, then you’re not going to do much self-discovery.

You have to convince a teacher to take you on. That’s not easy. It’s a complicated matter teaching someone about truth because the individual has to show certain signs. They have to show that they have tenacity, that they have a sense of humor, that they can be patient and at the same time, that they have an essential energy to try things that most people would run away from, not because there’s anything problematic about them but just because people run away from freedom. Who knows why? I mean, I don’t try and understand the insane. As Spock would say, it’s not logical.

Freedom is a very simple matter, yet—boy, what we have to go through to do it, huh? We have to unwrap the self, we have to unwrap the illusions, we have to stop making the movie we’re making, get off the set and go someplace else to another condition inside our mind. Where is it? How do you get there, how do you do all that? What makes it happen? Words like meditation, karma, samskaras—they’re just words. As I said, you can get into the jargon, you can speak it, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be any more free. You can get stuck in that. You know, it’s the riddle, the riddle of self.

What is self? Self is the mind viewing itself. That’s all. The mind stops viewing itself and turns towards infinity. There is no self, there’s only infinity. Whatever we view is what is. The mind enjoys viewing itself. You like looking in the mirror. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the fairest self of all?” Then you’ll see whatever you’d like to see. As I said, bodies come and go, ages come and go, yugas come and go, eternities come and go. Selves come and go. As long as we remain self-reflective and keep looking at who and what we are, as long as we keep our analysis that way, then there’s no freedom. We’re just trying clothes on in front of a mirror and admiring them. We get tired of one, we put on another, but we remain the same.

It’s when the mind is no longer self-reflective and instead turns towards infinity—infinity is not frightening, unless you want to be frightened by it. You can’t die. Bodies come and go but your spirit is eternal. You’re the stuff that life is. Can’t be created or destroyed. It just changes form.

To have the detached eye of the occultist, to look outward, to not be so self-reflective and to learn to step through the various viewpoints of consciousness that we call occultism does lead to freedom. It’s a step-by-step process. It works. It creates enlightenment, nonbinding states of reality. That’s there to do and be if that’s what one seeks. Or you can get caught up in the drama of religious study, the politics, the language, the frustrations. You can get mad at yourself when you didn’t turn out how you thought you were, when you failed to complete the list of tasks you set up for yourself.

The tasks don’t matter. All that really matters is, are you more free than you were? Is that what you want to do? Why frustrate yourself with trying to be free if it really doesn’t matter to you? Then you should just dream whatever dream comes along and enjoy it. Know that it will have its limitations, that it will end as all dreams do. That’s not necessarily sad, unless you’d like to be sad for a while. Then a new dream will come along.

You don’t have to seek freedom. You can become involved with the world of occultism or just be able to fulfill your desires more quickly. Why pretend to yourself that you really want to be free if you don’t? In other words, why put yourself on the crucifix of enlightenment? Why do that? Why hate yourself for not becoming something that you really don’t give a damn about anyway? Why not just admit that it doesn’t interest you particularly. What you’d like to do is fulfill your desires. You want to go on different rides in the amusement park. It’s all God. It’s all life. Why feel the guilt when you don’t do what you really didn’t give a damn about?

In other words, unless you’re confused, I really think you do whatever you want to do. If you don’t do it, you really didn’t want to do it. Why hate yourself for that, see what I mean? In other words, people go into self-discovery and they practice. You become a monk and you practice and the teacher tells you what to do. All the teacher is telling you to do is what is necessary to be free—showing you the steps. They’re not laying a trip on you, if they’re real, and if they’re free themselves. Now if you find that you have a resistance to that, and the resistance is strong, it just means you’re not that interested. So why go through it, then put yourself through some sort of torture when you find that, “Oh God, I didn’t do it. I didn’t try that hard.” It means you weren’t that interested.

In other words, we get caught up in an idea of how we think we should be. That’s just another mind fuck. That’s just another way of torturing—“Well, I’m supposed to be advanced. I should really meditate hours a day.” But you don’t because obviously you don’t really think that. You just are enamored of a view of how you think you should be. You read a spiritual book and it describes some character who probably never existed. And you fancied yourself as that. So you went to a great master, or a not-so-great master, an insignificant master, and you said, “Teach me, oh master” because you were kind of romantically infatuated with the idea of yourself as a religious person, a person who sought freedom—you, in your imagination, thought of yourself as having a high and noble mind when probably you’re just a base slob. (Audience laughs.)

You get so caught up in the drama of it you will go to any extreme to fulfill something that you don’t really even care about. So you’ll do hours of discipline and not enjoy it, or you won’t do the discipline and feel guilty and feel that you haven’t come up to your higher nature, which you don’t even have!

In other words, if one is truly inspired to seek enlightenment, there is no sense of hardship in the practice. (Someone in the audience sneezes.) Now, let me do that again; you sneezed so you couldn’t hear it. If one is truly inspired to become enlightened, there is no sense of hardship in the practice. If you feel a sense that it’s very hard and very difficult, then you’re not really inspired to be enlightened. Then you’re just kidding yourself about enlightenment. You’re setting a goal that’s not necessary at this time and then you get very frustrated when you don’t attain it, if you work hard, because you didn’t work quite hard enough. Or you don’t like the work or you don’t do it at all, in which case you feel guilty, you see? I think that’s a waste of time.

I’ve never found self-discovery difficult because I love it. I get up in the morning and I meditate because there’s nothing I’d rather do. Not because I feel I have to, but the idea of going into the world without meditating I find abhorrent. I’ve tried it and it’s very unpleasant. So no one has to convince me. I meditate as long as I can because I like it. I like the difficulty of the practice. I find it challenging. I always have. I enjoy stopping thought for sustained periods of time because it’s really hard but I just like that feeling. I like the hardness of it. That’s a normal, natural feeling when you’re practicing a discipline that you enjoy.

If you enjoy martial arts, you don’t have to drag yourself down there. You just are drawn. When you get down there and it’s a hard workout, even though it’s hard you like it because your spirit obviously wants to do that. I think we spend a lot of time hating ourselves over things that we really don’t give a damn about because we have some stupid view of ourselves in which we see ourselves as someone who we are not at this time, who we do not need to be at this time.

You can enter into the world of meditation and touch it lightly and just enter into a few different states of mind, gain a few powers and have some fun. Why set yourself up as a serious religious aspirant if you’re not? If you are, it will come naturally. In the meantime, enjoy it at any level that you can. Unpressurize it for yourself. If you seek enlightenment, it will be very obvious to you. Nothing will stand in your way and you’ll accomplish it because it’s the most fun thing there is. You’ll be drawn to the best teacher that’s around, and you’ll do absolutely everything they say times ten because that’s what you want to do. You’re so drawn to it, you’re so excited by it, there’s no other possibility.

Otherwise you really don’t seek enlightenment, you seek a more pleasant state of mind, you seek power to fulfill your desires more quickly or to avoid things you find unpleasant, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The person who seeks enlightenment so avidly, obviously, in other lives has done that. They’ve gained more power through different occult practices and found that when they could fulfill their desires completely and avoid the things they wanted to avoid completely, it still didn’t get them where they wanted to go. But you have to have that experience, you see?

So why hate yourself when you haven’t done something? I have a training course for people who are interested in enlightenment. I have another training course for people who want to make a lot of money in computer science and who enjoy the philosophy of enlightenment. But they’re not the same thing. That’s why they’re separated. Computer science is great and if you combine it with the Buddhist philosophy it gives you a very nice lifestyle. You’re a high-minded person, it’s fun to hear about the dharma; it’s wonderful to make a lot of money and just have a nicer life because maybe you have a refined sensibility. But that doesn’t mean that you have to hate yourself because you don’t push yourself to enlightenment, because you don’t. It’s not what you want to do now. When it is, it will come very naturally.

I think it’s good to unwind yourself a little bit and not push yourself so hard and just enjoy your life because it’s all you’ve got. I think it’s a better way to be. It’s a more pleasant way to be. Self-hate doesn’t create enlightenment. It just causes you to not enjoy the current moment. In the philosophy of consciousness we feel that all life is perfect, all life is ecstasy, all life is infinite and that there isn’t anything that’s problematic, ultimately, in the ultimate picture of things. I think there’s more peace in that.

This is the study of peace. If you hate yourself because you’re not becoming something you really don’t want to be but you’re just sort of enamored of the idea, then you don’t have much to do with self-discovery, if you see what I mean. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t meditate at all. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see a teacher if it adds something to your life—why not?

But I’m saying, don’t feel that you have to be a black belt if you just like to work out once a week. Why? Why go through that? Why compare yourself to people who are very inspired? Very few people on the planet Earth seek enlightenment. Otherwise we’d have a lot of enlightened people. It’s not that hard to do, if that’s what you want. It’s impossible to do, if that’s what you think you want but you really don’t. Then it’s just frustrating. So I would suggest that if you’re a person who just is interested in consciousness, if you find some of those different states of mind more fun than the ones you were in before, then dabble. If you like seeing a teacher, see a teacher. Do what you want to do. But don’t hate yourself for not being someone who it’s not time to be yet.

It’s like someone in fifth grade hating themselves because they’re not getting a Ph.D. yet. It’s sort of pointless. They’ll get there in time. It will happen. It’s inevitable. But you may have thousands of lives to go through between now and then before you’re a real hard-core seeker of enlightenment, hard-core meaning that you just love it, there’s nothing else that matters, there’s nothing else that you’d rather do. If you find yourself resisting anything, it just means you don’t want to do it.

Now teachers are different. I’m an easy-going teacher, as you know. I have very few requirements. No, I do. I have very few requirements. Some teachers have endless requirements. But I don’t have that many, just a few. If you’re an intermediate level student, if you’ve become a monk, naturally you have to meditate for required periods of time each day. Naturally you have to give a certain amount of money, which I use to sustain myself and spread the dharma and get involved with projects I get a kick out of, essentially. Because I’ve worked hard, hard, hard to get to where I am, and if someone wants to avail themselves of the empowerments, I don’t see in this particular society anything wrong with them paying for that. They pay for everything else, and it doesn’t give them much satisfaction. Why not pay for empowerments? They can do more with one empowerment than all the things they can buy in all the years of their life. Let’s face it, it’s simpler that way.

In other words, I’ve set up a system whereby you do not have to be a strict ascetic in order to study enlightenment. Normally the qualifications to study enlightenment with someone who is actually enlightened are very, very stringent. It’s rigorous, very rigorous. But I don’t see why that should be. I’ve taught in monasteries where it’s been very rigorous and very few of the monks were ever admitted into an actual program where they got very close to an enlightened teacher. But I don’t see that that’s necessary. In other words, I don’t see why this has to be the experience, why some of the things that you study in intermediate enlightenment have to be limited to people who are just totally gung-ho.

If I thought that, none of you would be in the room tonight. Not one. Because no one here, at this time, has shown the signs of a person who’s seriously interested in enlightenment, meaning to the exclusion of all other things. To my eye. If you think that that’s the case with you, then I suggest that you go compare yourself someday to someone who really is eagerly seeking enlightenment, and I think you’ll find that you’re not in that position at this time. I have not in this lifetime yet met one person who earnestly seeks enlightenment, in the West. Not one person.

I’ve met some people who in their own mental melodrama are very convinced that that’s the case. But that’s because they have the illusions of wanting to be that person. They think if they were that kind of person they would be happy, or they fancy themselves that way. But I’ve not yet ever met someone who came to me in the twenty years I’ve been teaching meditation—the hundreds of thousands of people whom I have seen in meditations in California and all over America and Europe—I’ve not met one person who has ever said, “Please, show me how to become enlightened,” and who really meant that in a happy way and then would go through whatever is there without any resistance, and they want to do it really badly.

I’ve had a lot of people say that to me, but then you say, “Oh great! Well OK, you want to build a house, this is how.” You tell them what to do and then suddenly they hate you. They’re angry that you told them they had to do these things. Well, that means that the person really didn’t feel that way. They were just enamored with the idea. They didn’t think you were going to take them seriously, maybe. Maybe they didn’t think you really knew how. It’s kind of like California bullshit talk, right? You know, where you just say to somebody, “Oh yeah, like, let’s do enlightenment. Like, let’s go visit the teacher,” and what you’re supposed to say is, “Oh, like really, like, Hi teacher, how are you? Please, like, show me how to be enlightened.” And the teacher doesn’t take you seriously, they just say, “Ah, you have a good day today and say the mantra and call me in five incarnations.”

But I always believe people. If somebody says to me, “I want to be enlightened,” I believe them immediately. It wasn’t until after living in California for many years that I realized that you don’t believe what anybody says, ever. Whatever they say, they’re just making a movie. It’s just a part they’re playing, and they don’t really believe the lines, they just like the way they sound. They like the image they portray. So now, when someone says to me, “I want to be enlightened,” I immediately take a vacation because I know that the person isn’t serious. I’ve never met anybody who’s serious about enlightenment. I’ve met many people who like to be in empowered states, and when they meditate with me, if I place them in an empowered state by projecting the kundalini and different lines of energy, they enjoy that. Well, sure, who wouldn’t?

I know people who just like hearing the dharma. They enjoy an elevated state of mind where they hear higher teachings taught. And that’s a nice way to be. I know people who like making a lot of money, who like leading a different kind of life, who like getting away from a lot of the clutter of day-to-day life and who enjoy variant states of mind. But I’ve never met anybody who seriously wants to be enlightened. Not yet.

I think it’s important to recognize, to feel good about the fact that you don’t have that driving necessity. You might have it for half an hour once in a while. No, really. For that half an hour, that’s all that exists and you want to blow away everything else in your life. That’s a touch of it. Someday maybe you’ll feel like that all of the time. What I’m suggesting is, when you do feel that way, it’s very natural, it’s very normal, it’s entirely healthy, and there’s no sense of having to become someone you don’t want to be. There’s no sense of having to go through disciplines—you don’t think of them as disciplines, it’s just the next fun step to get you where you want to go. That’s truly what it’s like.

If you don’t feel that way, then maybe what you should do is see yourself more realistically in a happy way and feel good about the fact that you like hearing people talk about things that are less mundane, you like meditating, you like empowerments. Great. But there’s no sense in casting yourself in a role that is not applicable at this time, when it will only cause you personal misery. You’ll either try to do things that you really don’t care about and you won’t enjoy them, or you will not fulfill the expectations and hate yourself. You see what I mean? You’re just setting yourself up for misery. Why not just take it at whatever level you choose?

So when a person studies with me on a basic level, there are no requirements at all, basically, other than they pay a general admission to come in the door so we can pay for the hall. On an intermediate level, there are very few conditions. The payment is larger as is due, in my opinion, and a person is required to meditate, and that’s it, really. There are assignments from time to time. They’re usually pretty enjoyable—viewing a movie, reading a book. That’s about it. I also teach computer classes that have a different set of demands and create rapid advancement in computer science, which some people like. There are desert seminars, and there’s a physical requirement for attending them simply because the desert is a very rigorous place to go. There are a number of ways just to demonstrate that you’re very healthy, that you do yoga x times a week, or martial arts or aerobics. But that’s really about it.

Now you can wind all that up very tightly or you can go see Sai Baba and wind that up tightly, or any teacher, or you can just see it as it is, and unwind it a little bit. Maybe lower your expectations of yourself and find that you’re a lot happier. Perhaps you’re not the next Buddha. Perhaps you’re not the Maitreya.4 Perhaps that’s not your job in this incarnation. Perhaps you don’t need to be that. Perhaps you don’t have to fast and meditate for thousands of hours. Perhaps you have to enjoy life and learn about it through relationships, through careers, through whatever way that you find yourself going. Maybe what I’m trying to teach you is to enjoy yourself more and hate yourself less. Maybe that would be a good thing to learn in this particular life.

Because as we hate ourselves less, we tend to hate other people less, too. If we don’t have to get violent with ourselves and castigate ourselves and ostracize ourselves and excommunicate ourselves because we didn’t live up to the standard we set down for ourselves, then maybe we don’t have to do that with other people. Maybe that’s your lesson in this life.

There are teachers other than myself who teach different things. I have a particularly defined program for people who are involved with computer science and meditation. I put the two together because I enjoy that, unless it’s a very basic class, in which case I just teach meditation and recommend that a person investigate the world of computer science. But at an intermediate level you can’t separate the two because I enjoy that. Since I only do things that I enjoy, unless I can’t help it (Rama laughs), and I’m in a position to do that, that’s why I do it. We know the result is exciting; I find it exciting. I’m doing it obviously for myself because I get a kick out of it. That’s why I do everything.

Why, when you get to the point of an advanced level of attention, when you’ve done all the work and gone through all the challenges to get to states of mind that are absolutely euphoric, would you ever want to do anything that you wouldn’t get a kick out of? It wouldn’t make any sense. In other words, you don’t become enlightened to become an indentured servant to humanity. I realize that there’s a thing called the bodhisattva ideal, and it’s a very nice pinnacle of attention to get to the state of mind whereby you say that you will lead every life forever to liberate all others. I’ve felt that way at times. It’s a nice state of attention. But it’s just another transient state of attention. When you’re in that state of attention, the right thing to do is say that. You say it, and then you get sensible. (Audience laughs.)

No! It’s a wonderful mood. But it’s a very indulgent thought to feel that in some way you are an instrument of immortality, which has to be around to liberate everybody. It’s a very egotistical thought, ultimately. It’s very binding to samsara, like everything else. But it’s a neat feeling to feel that way. To really feel that way is wonderful; it’s very genuine. But it’s just another illusion. It’s just another drama. That’s the bodhisattva’s drama that they’re playing out in meditation hall after meditation hall with all those people who come to see them. They’re in their own illusion. They’re as equally wrapped as anyone else.

Enlightenment is freedom. To have to liberate everybody doesn’t sound very free to me, it sounds like a lot of work. You know, you’re going to go liberate people who maybe don’t want to be liberated. See what I’m saying? You could set up the whole universe just to fulfill your fantasy. It hasn’t anything to do with enlightenment. Enlightenment is a personal matter in which you erase the self, until there’s no self. You do it for ecstasy. Why else would you do it? That’s its nature, it can’t be anything else. When all illusions vanish, there’s only ecstasy. Someone who’s reached that pointless point, so to speak, of infinite ecstasy is certainly not going to go do things that they don’t enjoy, which includes teaching.

I teach because I get a kick out of it. It’s fun. It’s a very fun, exciting, silly process. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it. I don’t do it because I feel that it’s particularly noble. I can feel that way if I look at it from a certain point of view. But ultimately I do it because I enjoy it. I set certain criteria because they’re sensible in a teaching process because what I do really works. I actually teach people how to become free and how to become enlightened. I know how, and I teach it.

But I also teach people a lot of other things. Mostly I teach other things—about how to enter into different states of mind, how to astral travel, how to become more successful, how to fulfill your desires. That’s not unspiritual, that’s quite spiritual. Spirituality means assisting a person in gaining a full view of reality. It doesn’t mean taking people to some state we call enlightenment. You drag people to some state that they’re not prepared for—that’s not assisting them. That’s causing misery.

So, are you trying to drag yourself to some state that you don’t even know about, you just have a hypothetical idea that you call enlightenment? Are you making yourself miserable in the process? Most people who practice meditation are. Most of the people I observe who meditate are much more, after they’ve meditated for a while, unhappy than anybody else. I’ve had people come into the meditation hall, new people, and they say, “Gee, I wouldn’t want to study with you, Rama, because everybody here is so unhappy.” And I would say, “Well, you know, that’s just part of the experience.”

That’s because they’re all trying to be enlightened and drag themselves to enlightenment or hate themselves when they’re not becoming what they think [they should]. That isn’t what I teach, that’s just their own trip they’re going through, and I just happen to be in the room. Each one is off in fantasyland, and I’m up here enjoying myself teaching. But no one hears what I say. They just put it into their fantasy, in any way that seems appropriate.

Enlightenment is about freedom. But to be free sometimes we have to first be ourselves and learn about ourselves and experience different sides of ourselves. You can’t push away who you are. It has to dissolve. It’s like Speedy Alka-Seltzer. You take the little tablet and flip it in water. There are a lot of bubbles and there’s no tablet. No ugly residue. (Audience laughs.) That’s what enlightenment is. It’s effervescent. You go away. It’s kind of fun, there are a lot of bubbles and you’re gone. But you can’t do that until you’ve experienced all the different sides of yourself. In the tantric process we accelerate that. We enable you to experience all the different sides of yourself much sooner than you had thought possible.

If you want to be evil, we’ll show you how to be real evil for a while, because we’ll amp you up. If you think there are other powers and forces and you want to go to other dimensions and live out fantasies there, go ahead, we’ll enable you to. Whatever you want to do, we can teach you how to get the power to go do it. Because I guess you have to work through that drama for a while. Don’t hate yourself for that. But we do have general guidelines that we suggest you employ as you progress through infinity so as not to create too much pain for yourself or others, simply because if you create too much pain for other people, sooner or later they’re going to blow you away. People don’t like that.

We also teach you things that will enable you to avoid the snares of others who are wrapped up in their own little dreams, who would make you part of their dreams. That’s abrogating your freedom. We’ll teach you how to avoid weird people and weird beings and weird forces and powers that seek to dominate you. But then what you do with all the power is pretty much up to you.

As I said, all I require is that a person pay an admission; and if it’s at the intermediate level that they meditate; and if it’s a computer science course, of course, that they do good computer science; and if they go on our desert journeys that they, through any method they choose of three methods, indicate that they are in fact in good shape to be able to go out into the desert when it’s 20 degrees in the middle of the night—go on our desert journeys in the study of occultism. But other than that, that’s about it.

So I would unwind yourself a little bit as we approach 1990 or whatever we’re approaching—infinity. Why don’t you take the time to enjoy yourself for a change? Why don’t you like being you for a change? Just be different, and don’t hate yourself, and feel very good about all your different desires and all the things you didn’t want and want; and why don’t you go get them all, and see what it’s like?

If you like studying meditation, great. If you like empowerments, great. I provide a tantric schoolhouse in infinity, where you can come in and take from this whatever you choose and employ it in any way you want, and the worst thing that could happen is you might learn something about yourself and life.

Naturally, if you use this power to annoy anybody else in the class, I have a problem and you’ll have to be asked to leave if you don’t stop because that’s against our rules. But other than that, it’s really up to you what you do. That’s the process that I use. It’s called “living in the teaching and learning of the enlightenment.” It’s called “living.” And I think a lot of you have wound this into a process in your own mind that has nothing to do with what I’m doing. You’re all people at a mall walking around in your own dreams of self-discovery, and it has nothing to do with what I’m teaching at all.

I’m providing empowerments and teaching you how to release the kundalini through a process we call meditation—teaching you how to lose things that take your energy and bind you to a particular self-form or reality structure, and how to affix yourself to things that create a sense of freedom and mobility through different planes of consciousness. I’m also teaching, through our computer seminars, how to do very good computer science and to make a tremendous amount of money, which creates mobility or just enables you to fulfill your desires.

The computer seminars are expensive. The enlightenment seminars are very inexpensive. They’re nominal, in our 1990 system. In our computer seminars I actually teach some of the philosophy of enlightenment because I feel it’s very complementary to computer science. A good, clear mind enables you to do very good computer science. Doing good computer science, of course, does foster a mind that is better prepared to meditate, if that’s your interest.

So I would ponder this a little bit. I would think, as we’re moving towards 1990 or whatever infinity we’re moving towards, I would think about self-discovery in perhaps more realistic terms for yourself. Think about yourself more realistically and think that you don’t really have to hate yourself; you can be whatever you like and learn from that. If you put your hand in the fire and get burned, you’ll be the first to know and I’m sure you’ll withdraw your hand. But that’s part of learning.

You can’t live without pain. You can’t live without pleasure. They come and go. You can live without self though, interestingly enough, even though it sounds incongruous. It’s quite true. I do it, meaning no particular self. That’s the study of enlightenment. It’s all the study of enlightenment, isn’t it? I mean, isn’t that all there is? The only difference is that you’re receiving empowerments and particular training in the subject of occultism, which just enables you to do things more rapidly because you seem to enjoy doing things more rapidly.

But don’t set so many goals for yourself. I don’t set them for you. There’s no need for you to hate me because I set a lot of goals for you because I don’t have any, just nonviolence and a certain amount of meditation every day, and if you’re in the computer science courses, you pay for them. If you attend our meditation seminars, there’s a nominal charge just to cover the room. But it’s strictly segmented that way. There’s a charge for the desert seminars. But they’re three entirely different things. On an intermediate level, there are four-night computer seminars, for whomever I decide to allow to attend them, and there’s two-night Buddhist seminars, and then there are, for those whom I decide to allow to attend, desert seminars. They’re three completely distinct products.

I’ve done that because it’s realistic. The philosophy of enlightenment permeates all three because I enjoy that, but they’re distinct. One is career-oriented, one is enlightenment-oriented and one is strictly power-oriented. They provide different accesses for different places inside one’s mind, different experiences. They’re like different rides at Disneyland.

So I would think a little more about enjoying yourself and not feeling that there’s anything wrong with you or your desires, and allow yourself to naturally experience life. If you’re supposed to be the Maitreya, if you’re going to be the next Buddha, then I’m sure you will be. But sometimes it’s best just to be who we are for a while and then allow ourselves naturally to change.

If you meditate and you experience these empowerments, it speeds everything up. If what you seek is enlightenment, that will be sped up. If what you have to go through are other dramas, that will be sped up. There’s no right or wrong in the study of enlightenment. There’s only experience.

4. A future Buddha, the last incarnation of Vishnu at the end of the Kali Yuga.