Personal Power

(Zazen music plays in the background, and Rama speaks to the beat of the music.)

This is Zen Master Rama, and you’re in search of personal power today. Must be—that’s why you picked up the tape. Personal power. You want to know what it is or how to get it, or get more of it or stop losing it. And it’s a feeling, my friend. Personal power is a feeling, like life.

So for the next 45 minutes or so, take off your mind, put it on a table, look out the window and watch out! You’re in the magical world of Zen! In search of power.

Today we’re here on radio station WZEN sending out your favorite songs to all you bodhisattvas and dakinis out there in Lokaland. Power is everywhere. It’s in your nose! (Rama laughs.) It’s waiting for you to discover it. It’s under rocks, in trees, in people, and the wind and the sky and fire when it burns. Nuclear fission and fusion. The power to love, the power to avoid those who would gain power over you. The power to be free.

Power. People are obsessed with it. They can’t get enough of it, the ultimate addiction. You can take a nice person and turn them into a slob, into an insane being, craving power, destroying anything that stands in their way. Or it can be guided with wisdom, light and knowledge, to be used to benefit others and oneself—power.

(Rama sings with the music.)

Anyway, enough of this nonsense. Let’s shut the music off here (Zazen music ends) and stop singing and get down to what matters—power!

What is power anyway? Power, as I define it—personal power—is something that’s not necessarily visible. We can see its effects, but we cannot see power itself in the same way that the wind blows, and we can see the effect of the wind. We can see it moving a wind turbine or perhaps blowing the trees. If it’s strong enough, a tornado or hurricane can blow a house over, capsize a ship. We can feel the wind against our bodies and in our hair. But we can’t actually see the wind. We see its effect. Because we can’t see it, that doesn’t imply that it’s not there. Of course it’s there.

So power is very much like the wind. It comes and goes; no one really owns it. Some people are foolish enough to think that they possess power. You don’t possess power; power possesses you. Power uses you. And you can’t exactly see, unless, of course, you have very advanced inner seeing, if a person is powerful. A person can seem to be not powerful and be quite powerful. Oh, there’s physical power and the ability to lift large amounts of weight. There’s mental power, the ability to get an A on an examination or to give an examination. There’s political power, power to make decisions that affect the lives of other transient beings.

Power is the big obstacle, or one of them, that you have to overcome and learn effectively to deal with before you can reach enlightenment. There’s no way around it. You can’t just ignore it and pretend it’s not there and avoid it. It’s something that at some point in your life you’re going to have to tackle. So you shouldn’t be afraid of it.

Power has destroyed many, many people? Not really. Power doesn’t destroy anyone. People apply it poorly and it can ruin their lives, of course. Power is like fire. If it’s controlled, it can be beneficial to your life. If it’s uncontrolled, it can destroy you. But fire is neither good nor bad; it’s how you use it.

Personal power then, is not necessarily sexual power, political power, intellectual power or physical power. Yet all these attributes of power certainly come from having personal power. The ability to get down to that gym and work out on a regular basis is a reflection of a certain type of personal power. The ability to be President of the United States, the ability to win in the karate match, the ability to get the job, the ability to survive when there are those who would like you not to survive. There can be hundreds and thousands of people who would like you to die, and if you have enough personal power, you can keep them all back.

Personal power is the reflection of a person of knowledge. A person of knowledge, an enlightened person, a person even close to enlightenment, has a great deal of personal power. But they don’t use that personal power to the disadvantage of others. As you know, when we look around at the world we see people in different states of evolution, of mental development. And some people are further along, clearly. They no longer want things just for themselves. They want things for the benefit of others. Some people want things just for themselves, and then even lower on the scale there are people who want to injure others. They derive an enjoyment from that.

We can really chart a person’s evolution by how they react to the world around and within themselves, in the sense that those whose primary concern is to destroy others are at the lowest level of development. They don’t understand much. They’re very blind. Those who don’t want to injure others particularly but are only interested in their own satisfaction are further along. Those who both do things for their own satisfaction primarily and for the satisfaction of others, who put energy back into the system, are even farther along. Then there are those whom we would call saints who just constantly live for the welfare of others and really only do a minimum of what is necessary for their own self-preservation so they can continue to work for the welfare of others. They’re even further along. Then, beyond that, is enlightenment—an enlightened person who is not bound by any system. They’ve already gone through all those stages, from probably the worst to the best in one lifetime or another, and now, having passed through the saint stage, they’ve become something else. They’re off the map. But that’s a topic for another time.

Power. Personal power, as I suggested, is something that is invisible. And in my opinion, everybody, including you, my friend, everybody wants it. Now, you might think to yourself, “Well, gosh, I’ve never really sought power.” I would disagree with you. What is power? Power is a feeling, a feeling of satisfaction, a feeling of being in control. And I believe everybody wants that, everybody wants to be in control, and everybody wants satisfaction, fulfillment. It’s a basic drive. Two basic drives.

While you may seek that feeling in other things—a good dinner, going to bed with somebody you like, pulling off a coup in a business deal, appreciating some art in the art gallery, being alone in solitude and just enjoying your mind, going dancing, competitive sports, noncompetitive sports, intellectual achievement—whatever it may be that you get a kick out of, that feeling that you enjoy when you have those experiences, where the feeling you seek—which you may or may not get through those experiences—is the experience of power, of satisfaction.

Now, most people don’t realize it. They assume that that feeling can only come through experiences that they enjoy. They don’t realize that that feeling is the reflection of personal power, and you can really get that feeling from absolutely anything when you know how. It’s not specific to one thing or another. The feeling of power comes from within you. Something is triggering a release in you.

So personal power, then, is invisible. It’s something everybody wants. We can see its reflection, while we can’t see it directly. We can see it in someone who has a powerful life, someone who is able to get what they want to get or avoid what they want to avoid. And the more a person is able to do this, we say the more power they have. That’s one level of personal power. Now naturally, there’s an entirely different level of personal power. That’s when we enter into the world of the psychic, the world of the occult, the world of the spiritual and so on. Here, personal power is the ability to enter into different planes of reality.

There are many, many different worlds. Just as there are different continents on the earth, just as there are different universes, there are different dimensions, dimensional planes. And you can move from one dimensional plane into another. You can go into them; you can stay in them. There are thousands of them. Each one is a different—“universe” isn’t even the right word. Some are much more enjoyable, some are less enjoyable. There are dimensions of power, there are dimensions of knowledge, there are dimensions of confusion. The universe is a very, very big place and to think the universe is only composed of the physical universe is to be rather shortsighted. All of the physical universes put together, stretching out endlessly, are only a fraction of the totality of reality. In other words, all of the physical universes are only part of the physical dimensional plane, and there are thousands of dimensional planes. In different lifetimes, you incarnate in different dimensional planes, let alone in different universes in the physical universe.

Personal power is the ability to go into those other planes, to cross that threshold from one dimension to another. It takes a lot of power to do that. Why do that? Why go down the street to the local supermarket? Why go to the art gallery? Why ever deal with another person? Because it’s there to do. Because knowledge lies in those other dimensions. Power lies in those other dimensions. Beauty. Everything that’s here, and more. It’s part of your world, that’s why. It’s part of the universe. It’s part of you. Everything that is, is part of you. And as you pass through the other dimensions, you get an education, and you change and you grow; just as you received an education in grammar school, high school and at the university; just as you receive an education if you take a trip to Japan, or go to Hawaii, or go to London; just as you get a very different type of education if you go out to the desert, to the places of power, places where it’s easy to cross over from one dimensional plane to another. Where power hovers, so to speak.

A great deal has been written about personal power by a fellow named Carlos Castaneda, and I find his first four books are valuable, in this sense. After that they don’t make much sense to me. But I think that based upon my own experience, the first four books that he’s written in his series about don Juan and don Genaro make a lot of sense, the principles in them. Of the experiences themselves, who knows? Fantasy? Reality? But the principles that are presented via the teachings of don Juan and don Genaro in those first four books, Tales of Power, Journey to Ixtlan, A Separate Reality and The Teachings of Don Juan are quite valuable for one who seeks power.

The big problem with power, of course, is obsession. Once you begin to get some of it and feel it, it dominates your whole life and it’s all you can think about. That doesn’t have to happen. But as a person progresses along the path of power, you attract certain forces and beings to you from other dimensions, who feel the power that you’re storing. Sometimes they want some of it; sometimes they want to ruin you. We call these beings entities.

Today it’s very popular to do a thing we call channeling. There are all these groups out there, and people are trying to channel entities and have these beings come through them at little séance sessions, which in my estimation is downright ridiculous and dangerous. I mean, anyone who had gone and seen the movie Poltergeist would know that, right?

Entities are beings that are dead, and they’re the lowest beings on the evolutionary scale because they don’t even know that they’re dead. (Rama laughs.) You see, the universe is made up to work in a very specific way. OK, the systems design is great. The idea is that when you’re alive, you’re alive, and when you’re dead, you’re dead. When you’re dead, you’re not really dead, but you go into another dimension for a while, where you have different experiences. And then when it’s time, you reincarnate, and you’re alive again. This process goes on forever, unless you attain enlightenment and you’re able to go beyond this circle of birth and death. Which doesn’t mean that you’re not alive and it doesn’t mean that you might not die, but you’re no longer affected by birth and death. Your personality doesn’t dissolve at death. You’re always conscious, you might say. The two don’t really seem like different states to you because you can see beyond both.

In any case, entities are beings, ghosts, whatever you want to call them, who don’t know they’re dead. By that I mean that they have died, but what they seek is life again, and they don’t realize—they’re so-o-o stupid—they don’t realize that they should be dead for a while and enjoy being dead. They’ll be alive again, they’ll reincarnate. So what they do—they’re very confused, they don’t even realize that they’re dead—they come into the world of the living, where they don’t really belong, and they seek to have experiences that they had while they were alive. They miss it. They’re so bound to experience. They want to experience sex again, they want to experience food again, usually pretty basic things because they’re pretty basic beings. That’s why they’re so low on the evolutionary scale. They want to experience the joy of destroying something. They’re usually from that first spectrum I talked about before, those who enjoy destroying others.

So entities come to people, they approach them in their dreams, and they make them all kinds of promises. They promise them that they’ll give them power, that they’ll get them sexual partners, that they’ll, you know, do all these things. They really don’t have the power to do anything. They don’t even have the power to be alive again. But they can see a certain amount because they’re outside of the physical dimensional plane. So they might see that you’re going to meet a beautiful woman or a beautiful man, or that you’re going to be successful at something. And they will come to you in dreams and they will tell you that this is going to happen because of them, and then when it happens, you think that they helped you and you listen to what they say. When you listen to what they say, they gradually work their way into your thoughts and after a while you’ll start thinking their thoughts, and you won’t know that they’re your thoughts and soon you’ll be fully possessed.

Channeling is a practice that’s very popular right now. All kinds of people are doing it, and Shirley MacLaine is writing about it, and it’s very dangerous. It’s a process in which you are opening yourself up to astral entities and inviting them to come into you, speak through you and give you knowledge and power. Now this is silly. Knowledge and power doesn’t come from an entity, it comes from within oneself. Now, what can these things tell you? To put five bucks on Snowflake in the third race? They can’t give you anything. They can’t really teach you anything because they don’t have enough personal power.

An enlightened teacher has personal power, and sitting and meditating with an enlightened teacher in a meditation hall or out at a place of power can change you forever because the teacher has so much power that when they meditate, when they stop their thoughts, a tremendous aura builds up around them. That aura will open up your own aura; it will increase it so that you will move into a higher plane of knowledge, see things you would have never seen and feel things that you would have never felt. And you will gain a new view of the world. Then, when you’re not with the teacher, this experience will fade, naturally. But it will encourage you to pursue these experiences on your own.

In other words, if I took you to Europe because I had enough money and you didn’t, and if you really liked it there, once we came back, then you could go again on your own. You would have to make the money. But obviously, if I have learned to make enough money to get there, I could also teach you how to make the money. So a teacher of knowledge and power shows you or gives you experiences in other dimensions. They show you that the universe is much bigger and much more fascinating than you had ever imagined. They don’t do this with verbal descriptions. Those are worthless. How can you describe the other worlds? They give you direct and immediate experiences in other realities. Then, they teach you the things that they had to learn on the path of knowledge and power to be able to do that.

They teach you how to make your life efficient, organized, powerful, fun and happy—and how to learn and deal with the forces that abide in those other dimensions, just as your parents taught you how to cross a street so you wouldn’t get run over, things that were good to eat, things that you shouldn’t eat, like the things under the kitchen sink—bleach, Drano. You learn the ropes of this world. You got a description of the world and you functioned through it, and you function, obviously, somewhat successfully. You’re alive today.

So in order to pass into the other dimensions, you really need to understand what’s out there, the different beings, the different forces—good places to go, places to avoid and so on. A teacher of knowledge and power—which is the subject that I label mysticism—is able to provide the student with these experiences and to explain how to deal with these other worlds and other universes. I conduct a number of desert excursions, and on the desert excursions I expose people to these other dimensional planes—out at the places of power. I do it at other times too, sometimes just in a seminar. But particularly, that type of education, the education in mysticism, occurs out in the places of power where it should. Most of the rest of the time, I’m just teaching Zen, enlightenment. Mysticism is certainly a part of the enlightenment experience, but it’s a variant part. Enlightenment is a very big subject and it has many component parts. One aspect of enlightenment is dealing with the different dimensional planes.

So a person who seeks power usually goes into other dimensional planes to find it. Then they bring that power—once they network with it—back into this world and they use it to enhance their life.

Now, everybody goes into different dimensional planes. You do it every night when you go to sleep, when you dream. You’re journeying into other dimensional planes. Dreams are not just functions of the cerebral cortex. Oh, no doubt some are, but there are dreams, and then there’s “dreaming.” Dreams are just the silly things that pass through your mind at night. “Dreaming” is out-of-the-body experiences where you are traveling through the different dimensions, most of which you don’t remember. You meet beings, have conversations, have experiences, all kinds of things.

Personal power is a feeling. It’s a feeling that everybody is looking for called satisfaction. It’s different than enlightenment, but you need personal power to become enlightened. But personal power is not the end of the process. It’s another step in it. It’s a tool that you use to get someplace. It’s like a car; it takes you someplace. The purpose of the car is not to live in the car, it’s to drive you someplace you want to go. So power is an operative force. It’s a component part of the universe. You need power to listen to me, the power of awareness. You need power to walk down the street.

We see power operating constantly in this world because the particular dimensional plane that we’re in is a plane of power. The beings who are here, who are incarnate on this planet, the vast majority of them, are at the stage of their evolution where power is the dominant theme. They’re learning about power. That’s why we live in a world where there are so many wars and so much destruction. Because people are gaining power over others and using that power to destroy anyone or anything that doesn’t agree with their point of view. This is an arena of power that we live in. It behooves a person to know as much about personal power as they can because anything that you want to do in life—if you want to be a winner, if you wish to be successful—you need power to do that, to accomplish anything. There’s a science of power and that’s the science of Zen. How to gain control of your time, life and mind.

Where does personal power come from? Well, it’s hard to say. Who knows where it comes from? Where does the wind come from? Where does the light come from? Or you could say the sun—where does the sun come from? And so on. But I do know—I can tell you in words—it comes from “the absolute reality.” I can tell you that there are places that you can gain power, there are things you can do to gain power, and they’re pretty simple and a great deal of fun.

The place that you gain the most power is within your own mind. When you have the ability to stop thought, which is meditation, when you practice meditation and you become good at it, stopping thought generates power. That’s why people meditate. The longer you can stop thought, the more power you gain. That’s the ultimate way to gain power. Even just the practice of meditation which we call zazen in Zen—sitting, concentrating, doing concentration exercises to gain control of your thought and learn how to focus—that creates a lot of power. Then when you move to the next stage, which is not only being able to focus thought, and say, focus on a candle flame for 15 minutes or a pretty colored rock, or one point, a chakra, or something like that—when you move to the next step, which is not just to focus, but then to stop thought completely without having to focus, you gain a tremendous amount of personal power. It comes into your life. It’s like a bank account.

You have an inner bank account and there’s a certain amount of power in it. If you lead a sloppy life, if you indulge in your emotions, if you’re always upset and freaked out, if you’re stressful all of the time, if you’re not happy, you’re wasting power and your power level will get very low. When your power level gets low, it’s dangerous; your mind doesn’t function clearly, you make mistakes. And if your power level gets low enough, you’ll die. You’ll get in a car accident, you’ll pick up a disease. That’s why it’s very, very important to keep your power level high, just to be a happy human being, let alone a human being who’s seeking to develop their mind and enter into other dimensional planes and gain self-knowledge.

Someone who really wants to unfold and see what they’re all about and discover themselves, has to be particularly careful about the use and abuse of power. But even your average human being just passing through another lifetime has to be careful because when your power level gets too low, you die. So it’s important to keep your power level as high as possible—to survive, to be happy—let alone to truly gain control of your time, life and mind, to become enlightened and free and filled with knowledge.

A great deal of time then is given in Zen to considering where you lose power. Not just where you gain it. You gain it through practicing zazen, meditation and concentration. You gain power by doing anything that you like that makes you feel good. You gain power by being happy. You gain power by going to places of power. There are certain places in the earth—the earth is alive—and there are places on the earth that are very powerful. Again, it might look like one piece of ground, which doesn’t look necessarily so different than another piece of ground 500 yards away, but some places have more power than others. Meaning that on a second level or a third level, on another dimensional level, there’s an interfacing dimension there where there’s a crossover point between dimensions and a tremendous amount of energy is passing back and forth.

When you go to such a place, if you’re receptive, if you’re able to quiet your thoughts and concentrate, a lot of that power can enter into you. Conversely, there are places that are very draining. There are places where there is another dimensional crossover but to a dimension that’s not powerful at all. And at these crossover points, there are a lot of beings, nonphysical beings that cross over back and forth constantly. If you go to a place of power, the beings are higher, magnificent beings of light. They’re not from our world, necessarily, but they pass through it—the place where the dimensions touch, where there are many worlds present.

If you go to another place, a lower crossover point, a negative place of power, then the beings there are very unevolved, very demonic, crazy—lower than the people in this world. If you spend too much time in a place like that, you can get dragged down and your power level will be lowered and these beings will annoy you. And of course, if you go to a higher power level, a higher place of power, you can gain power there, and you might even encounter some beings of knowledge and light who might help you, aid you in some way.

So if you want a suntan, go out in the sunlight. If you want a suntan, don’t stay inside. If you’re seeking power and knowledge, you need to go to places that are healthy and happy and radiant. And you avoid places that aren’t. If you must go to them, you go to them in a very conservative way. You go to them when your power is up and your energy is tight. It’s like going to war. You’ve got to be ready if you’re going to survive, if you’re going to win.

So power, then, comes from doing zazen, meditating, leading a controlled life, being conservative, not wasting all your energy on drugs, alcohol and sex or other pastimes. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a drink once in a while. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy having sex. But the guideline for all experience is—how do you feel afterwards? Not ten minutes afterwards but the next day or several hours later. When you’ve been with a person, is the person raising your power level or lowering it? Oh, we meet people all day long in business and so on. But that’s not so much the question. We deal with people. But people you are emotionally open to can drain your power level or raise it tremendously, depending upon what their intentions are.

Some people, they’re like psychic sponges and they just drain power from others constantly. They lower your awareness because they’re at a lower level. If you spend too much time with them and you’re open to them all the time, and you never associate with people of your own power level, let alone a higher power level, you get pulled down. It happens.

It’s necessary to examine your experiences, to examine your associations with the people you know, if you seek personal power. And just see how you feel. If, after being with someone, going to bed with someone, going hiking together, going to a movie together; if afterwards you don’t feel very good, if your attention level is lower than it was to start with, this is a person who has drained your power. Now, that doesn’t mean they necessarily took power from you for themselves. It just means they’re operating at a lower attention level and you got pulled down by it because you’re not sufficiently strong enough, at this point, to be with someone and be unaffected. So it would behoove you not to spend too much time with a person like that—as little as possible. And if you have to spend time with someone like that, or if, at the office or in different exchanges in daily living you have to spend time with people who are at lower power levels, then you have to be aware of that and keep your awareness very much within.

Keep some of your attention centered on your navel center. The primary power center, one of them, is around the navel area. When you’re in a situation in which you feel your power is being drained—you know, you’re in a good mood and suddenly you’re just being pulled right out of it, and it’s not because you’re doing anything. But you’re in a physical operative situation where you’re walking, you’re in the grocery store, you’re talking to someone—if you can put a little bit of your attention, focus your mind a little bit, feel the area around the navel center, at times like that you’ll find that you’ll keep your power tighter, you won’t lose as much. Because you don’t have a limitless supply of power. It’s something that you need to be conservative with—not stingy, not afraid.

Oh sure, everybody loses a little bit every day and you pick up a lot. Don’t be afraid of losing a little power in daily association. Sit down and do your zazen in the morning and then in the evening, and you’ll pick up enough power to not only be in the world all day and lose a little, but you’ll gain a lot. Then, by leading a strategic life, in which you’re not wasting power—you know, people who seek power and knowledge aren’t misers, and they’re not afraid. “Oh God, I’m gonna talk to this person and lose power”—that’s a paranoid. But at the same time, there are people who will impact our lives in a very negative way, and they’re not necessarily good or bad, but if you’re an Olympic athlete and you’re in training, you don’t spend your time hanging around in bars all the time with people who are just not doing that. They don’t have to be in training. That’s not what they want to do. They don’t get a kick out of it. They like hanging around bars, drinking beer, getting fat and getting in fights. That’s their power level, that’s where they belong.

The trick in life is to find out where you belong. Once you find out where you belong, you’ll be happy there. If you’re trying to be an Olympic athlete because someone told you you should be when you were little, and it’s making you miserable, then that’s the sign. Your body is telling you that there is no power in that for you. You should do something else. Those guys down in the bar may be having a great time, and you may say that’s a terrible world. Not necessarily. For them that is their world; that is their place of power. The events that take place in that bar every night, the conversations; there’s a little world of power in there too. That’s their spot. It’s different for everybody.

But if you’re a person with a more altruistic nature, if you’re interested in developing your mind—which I assume you are, that’s why you’re listening to this tape—then you have a different nature. Oh, you are a part of everybody. You’re like the guys in the bar, and a part of you is like that gal in the corner with the red dress. We’re a little bit of everyone. Let’s not get too fancy here. We all have desires and emotions and feelings. But you may be at a stage in your evolution now where your mind needs to be developed—mind, spirit, same thing from my point of view—and that’s a lucky place to be, I guess. I think in a way every place is a lucky place to be. It’s all eternity.

But when you enter into the plane of mental development and you start to increase your personal power level, your life becomes quite wonderful and very happy. You move beyond delusion. You begin to see that life is very, very complex. It’s made up of thousands of dimensions—of wonder.

The average person just sees through their senses—hearing, smelling, feeling, tasting, touching. That’s all they know. And they think and they feel some emotions, and that’s their life, and then they die. But the world is filled with wonderful mysteries and beauty, knowledge, experiences to be had. It’s a great place. But you need the personal power to open up to all of that. Without it, these are just words. If you have it, it’s your everyday experience, as it is mine.

Naturally, along the way, there are beings and forces that will challenge you. If you’re the fast gunfighter in town, “Somebody’s gonna come a-lookin’ for ya, pardner.” I meet people all of the time, and beings, that come to me, that challenge me. They feel a level of personal power, which one gains through the practice of Zen, and they come and they seek to challenge me. They want to try and get some of your power, take it away from you, all this nonsense, and of course, you just defeat them.

Whereas a person of knowledge and power never goes out looking for battles. All their battles are within. They don’t need to get in a battle of power with someone else. How ridiculous. Only deluded beings seek that because they think there’s something they can gain from it, which is their sense of ego. They think if they get in a battle with the Zen Master or with a don Juan or whoever it might be, that in some way that’s going to enhance their life if they win. They think—they’re deluded and vain—they think they can take someone else’s power. You can never take power from someone else any more than you can take sunlight. If you get in a battle with someone, you don’t get their power if you win. You might beat someone, but power doesn’t transfer like that.

Power is something that you have to acquire yourself, through self-inquiry; through going inside yourself and finding out who you are and what you’re all about through the practice of zazen, of meditation—by learning to lead a happy and controlled life, by mastering your thoughts and your emotions and your desires. This is what lends power to your life—not beating someone else.

The bully on the block who beats up somebody doesn’t become more powerful because they beat somebody else up. All they do is walk around inside their own mind with an inflated ego, thinking how powerful they are because they beat somebody up, because they won a battle. The warrior on the battlefield who defeats someone else doesn’t become more powerful because they defeat someone else. A good warrior, a seventh or eighth-degree black belt, will tell you that there’s no victory. There’s winning, but there’s no victory in winning. You might as well win. But it doesn’t make you more powerful to win. It’s just what you do. It’s an expression of your personal power level. Only the fool wants to go into battle to beat someone for the satisfaction of beating someone.

In the world of power, as you gain more of it, people will come looking for it. If you’re a movie star, you know what I’m saying. You’ve gained a certain level of power to get a part to do a good job—or a rock star, a politician, or anyone in the public life. Now there are people who will come around you, little groupie types, who want to be around you because they think by being around you they can get something. What they should do is learn to do what you do. Learn to control their life, learn discipline, learn to work hard, learn to be creative, funny and balanced. Then they should go do it themselves and get themselves a part in a film, or get themselves elected, or whatever. But the world is filled with beings who don’t want to do the work, they just want to try and be around others. The danger is, if you are a successful person and you let a lot of people like this in and around your life, they can drain your power. It won’t go to them, but it will leave you.

So as you become a powerful person, it becomes increasingly important to have periods of solitude. One of the best things you can do, and I recommend it highly, is once a month take a weekend by yourself. Go up into the mountains, check into a little cabin, or out into the desert. There are lots of places you can go and they’re not necessarily expensive. And go by yourself. Go alone. Spend a weekend by yourself, two, three or four nights. And just walk around in the desert, walk around in the mountains, go swimming, go jogging, but don’t bring anyone. Bring a good book as a companion, some tapes. Just drive around. We live in a great and beautiful country. There’s lots to see. But you should do that at least once a month. You will find that you won’t be lonely and you’ll come back feeling much better. Your mind will clear out. You’ll feel great. Go camping, same thing. But don’t go to a place where you’re going to be surrounded by people. Oh, you don’t have to avoid them. You’ll go out to the restaurant and eat; bring your book so you won’t feel lonely. But it’s important to have a certain amount of solitude just to clear your circuits.

You’ll find that you can be very happy just being by yourself. And then four days later, wham! Or three days, or after the weekend, you’re back in the middle of the world with everyone around you. But you’ll find those little sabbaticals will tremendously aid you. You don’t have to just sit around—get out, walk, hike, see the world! Go to new places. It will cleanse your spirit. Then when you come back into the world, you can, for the next three or four weeks, have a great time. But then get out again. It’s very, very important, if you seek power, to be on your own for a number of days, at least once a month. That’s only 12 times a year, and you only have a few years in your life, you know? Those are important times. Naturally, you’ll do a lot of meditating when you’re up in the hills, or at the beach, or wherever it is. But that time is time invested and it will pay off for you.

There’s a grace and an ease to power when you have it. It’s very comfortable. You feel good about yourself and your life. It’s well worth having, and it’s certainly miserable not to have it, because what personal power really gives you, in my opinion, is a sense of mental equilibrium. The real reflection of personal power is control of thought. When I said earlier that a person who has power doesn’t seek to challenge others, their battles are within, by that I mean that the person of power uses their power to open up their mind to higher and newer levels all the time, which creates tremendous happiness inside oneself. It’s a very personal matter, as all things ultimately are.

A person with power has control of their emotions. Most people, when depression comes along, which is a force, they get depressed. When fear comes in, they can’t stop it and they’re terribly afraid. But a person with power can stop fear, can stop depression, or they can augment a positive emotion. When joy comes, happiness, love, bliss, ecstasy, a person can focus on these qualities and increase them. Most people don’t have any control of their time, lives and mind. Just minimal control. They don’t even understand how life works. They’re not privy to those mysteries of the universe that create success.

A person who has power has an open mind. They’re not just a liberal, that’s not what I’m saying. But their mind is open and they can see on other levels. Right now you may be in a room, and there’s power. It comes out of the outlet where the tape machine plugs in, or where the light plugs in. But you can’t see the wiring. Or if you were blind, perhaps you couldn’t even find the outlet, let’s say. But a person who can see, who’s developed the facility of seeing into other planes can do so. They can see the wiring in the walls. They can see where power comes from, how life works. They have a great advantage in daily living over the individual who can’t see. Seeing is a quality that comes to a person who has personal power.

Thought control is the primary interest of a person who seeks power because most energy and power is not lost simply in associations with others or by going to a place that lacks power, but most power is lost in one’s own mind by thinking negative thoughts, by worrying about the future, by focusing on the past, as opposed to thinking positive, strong, happy thoughts, creative thoughts, new thoughts, thoughts you never thought before.

A person without much power is easily influenced by others, whether they’re physical or nonphysical beings. Their life is easily ruined. They’re blown around like a leaf in the wind. A person with power, on the other hand, controls their life and their destiny. They have a mastery. Their moments are aware moments in this world, never wasted. That control in life, that’s what you admire—that ability to control one’s mind—not to get angry if you don’t want to get angry, not to be unhappy if you don’t want to be unhappy, or to be happy; to be powerful when its necessary to engage in a challenge, if someone comes along and they want to screw around with you, to be able to win. That’s a reflection of power. That power comes from leading a controlled life, a happy life, a perky life. I’m not talking about moving into the local monastery and giving everything up. You can move into the local monastery and give everything up and be miserable and have no power. Power doesn’t come so much from what is around you. It has to do with how you use your mind.

The study of Zen is a retraining. It’s a series of new ways, not just one way, to learn to use your mind more efficiently. This efficiency will cause you to increase power and not to lose power. And it is my belief that if you practice Zen or something similar, you will become a much more powerful person than you are now. Naturally, the challenge of power is how to use it and not abuse it. When you abuse it, it reverses on you and it hurts you. If you’ve gained some powers by your entrance into other dimensions and you use them to attack others or to make others miserable, then power reverses on you and it pulls you apart because it’s not supposed to be used that way.

Such people are unhappy, shallow beings who become more and more unhappy. They lower their power levels. Nonphysical beings are drawn to them, take them over and all kinds of things happen. The only way out of such a situation, of course, is to stop doing it. How do you stay out of jail? You stop breaking the law. How do you overcome the negative karmas and problems and misery that occur to people who abuse power? You stop abusing power, of course. But some beings are so deluded that they think that—well, who knows what they think? Who cares, that’s deluded beings. But you, my friend, on the other hand, can use power in positive and creative ways to enhance your life. And that’s what I suggest.

Power is mostly gained through the practice, again, of meditation, which I’ve described on other tapes and in books and others have described it. If you practice it on a daily basis, you’ll become powerful. Then, if you have a good teacher, the teacher will show you the ropes in the world of power. They will not only provide you with experiences in other dimensions via their own personal power, but also they will give you the wisdom—they can’t give it to you, but they will present you with ideas and knowledge which you can look at and examine and see if it makes sense to you. They will give you the wisdom that is necessary to be able to use power. You don’t just give a kid, on his 16th birthday, a new Ferrari. You teach him how to drive it.

Naturally, you need someone who is versed in the ways of power to teach you a thing or two about it, and then you have to go experiment with it on your own. And then, when you reach your next power level, they’ll teach you a little more, and so on and so forth. Again, it’s very much like the study of martial arts, where you’re moving from belt to belt and as you’ve gained more power, and you’ve become a black belt, then the teacher will teach you how to get to your second level and third, and so on. But before that can happen, you have to practice and become competent at a certain level. Then you can learn something new and move to the next level. The study of self-knowledge and gaining personal power is very much like that. It’s a wonderful study. I teach it; I enjoy it and practice it. I recommend it highly.

If you are a person who wants an uncommonly fine life; if you are an individual who wants to lift yourself up in this lifetime beyond the common misery and pettiness, unhappiness, frustration and delusion that most beings here experience; if you seek something more, control of your time and life and mind, and you’re willing to put in some time each day to do that, to give yourself a wonderful life—then that will happen to you. And you will become quite different than you are now. You will become a more developed being. You will learn the ways of knowledge and power.

(Zazen music begins.)

So, my friend, power is everywhere when you can see it and know how to find it, and it’s nowhere when you can’t. (Rama laughs.) And you know, when you have power, you can do nice things for people. Like stay out of their way, right? (Rama laughs.) You could do whatever it is you want to do—which of course is another subject for another time.

What is it that you want to do and just what do you want this power for? That’s what I want to know. I think I can guess. And you will find out what that’s all about, right? Getting power and going out and doing what you want. Oh God! What an experience you have ahead of you! What things to learn. What an awesome responsibility it must be to be you! Gads! I can’t imagine.

(Rama sings to the music.) So here we are, singing along with Zen Master Rama, in search of power, knowledge and experience. On the planet Earth, or wherever you might be hearing this tape. They’ve imported it into your dimension; you might gain something from it. The operable rules are the same wherever you are. So have a good time out there.

(Zazen music ends.)