( Looking  for God in All the Wrong Places)


   (A Primer For a Successful Life)


​                                                                                                                                       December 2014

                 WOW           Here's an attempt by that Wily Old Wizard, Merlyn,
                                        to wake us up with a new approach in 2015.


                Greetings!  It's good to be back.  We are going to try to re-invent this website
            in the coming Earth year.  It is quite clear to us that the need for a time-less 
            perspective on this planet has not diminished.  If, by presenting our thoughts in
            a different form we will reach a greater number of receptive minds and souls, 
            then our efforts will be justified.  While it is true that the world is in the midst of
            a great awakening, and home to more and more enlightened individuals each 
            year, there are still millions who have not yet even begun to ask the right 
            questions, and so are struggling with unsatisfactory answers.  

                 The organized religions, as well as much of the "scientific" community, are
            so locked into some one-dimensional ideas that they cannot ever hope to 
            understand the the vast, infinite, time-less, multi-dimensional reality we live in.
            On a practical level, mankind has repeatedly tried to cure society's troubles 
            with first political, then economic, and finally military efforts.  The cycle merely
            repeats itself endlessly, because the problem is of a different nature.

                We have before us a book which addresses this issue.  It was written several                       years ago by Ben Bolt, never published, and It is entitled "Individual Responsibility",                 We will be publishing one chapter of it each month on this website in 2015, and                       we sincerely hope that it will open some eyes, alter some thinking, and perhaps                       push our readers in a happier, more successful direction.

                                                                                                           ...  Merlyn

                It's now January of 2016, and we've decided to move all of Merlyn's
                books to this new page to make room on other pages.  Beside this                                     you will find the Introduction from "Individual Responsibility" Enjoy.



                                              INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY
                                                           (A Primer for a Successful Life)

                                                                by Ben Bolt


                    How is your world?  Is it perfect?  Probably not.  At least I bet it doesn't seem like
            it is.  Even if you have achieved a certain level of contentment, you are still likely to have
            some future goals.  I'll wager that you still have a list of things that you want to do for
            yourself or someone else.  You might want more material things, better health, more 
            security, more friends, or any one of a dozen other things that you believe will make
            your life richer and more satisfying.  Wouldn't it be nice if you woke up every morning
            glad to be alive and feeling great?
                    What about those of you who have little or nothing to be glad about?  You may
            have poor health, or you may have no money and no apparent prospects for getting 
            any.  Some of you do not even have enough to eat, have lost someone who was dear
            to you, or are being victimized by others who seem to have power over you, and won't
            let you control your own life.  
                    This world has an endless variety of life situations, and they can certainly be
            vastly different.  Some seem to have everything, and it may or may not be enough,
            while many others have a reasonably comfortable life, and some have practically n
            nothing going for them.  Why is this?  What's going on?  Why does it look like some
            people never get a break, while others are coasting through this world almost without
            a care?  It's not fair! Somebody should do something about it, right?  Call 911!
                  Yeah, that's what we'll do.  We'll call 911.  We'll write a letter to our congressman.
            We'll organize a protest march.  We'll go steal something.  We'll go to church and pray.
            We'll build a bomb and blow up something - or somebody.  We'll get a gang together
            and go harass someone else to make ourselves feel a little better.  We'll go to the 
            doctor.  We'll take some pills.  We'll call somebody on our cell phone.  We'll go to the
            gym and work out.  We'll get something to eat.  We'll go to a city council meeting and
            demand some changes.  We might even volunteer to help someone else.  We'll drink,
            or take some drugs.  We'll go buy a book.  We'll have sex.  We'll all lean out a window
            and shout together, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more!"
                    There now, don't we feel better?  Now we can go back to living our life just like 
            we used to until the next crisis comes along.  I sure hope the terrorists don't come to
            my neighborhood, or my state doesn't get hit by a tornado, a hurricane, or an
            earthquake.  Have you ever thought, or even done some of those things?  Sure you
            have.  We all have.  Unless you are one of those unfortunate people whose life revolves
            around just trying to find the next meal, or you're in prison or a hospital, "doing
            something" is your life.  So what's the problem?
                    Here's the problem.  The world is a half-full glass.  Of course, that means that it is
            always also half-empty.  Your life is the same way, and you are either in the process of
            emptying it out or filling it up.  The people who are caught in the half-empty part of 
            the world usually can use some help to get out, so the others need to be helping.  If
            we are not somehow working on the solution, then we become part of the problem.
            We have no choice about this.  The world is a lot like a school, and it is up to us to 
            determine the form that the lessons will take.  They can be enjoyable challenges or
            miserable drudgery.  That is the part we get to choose.  
                    What is wrong with doing any of the things on the list of options we mentioned?
            Well, a few of them, such as exercising, reading a good book, helping someone else,
            having sex (at an appropriate time and place with the right partner), or some other
            pro-active effort, are positive steps in the right direction, and contribute to  the half-
            full part for ourselves and for the world.  That's a good thing.  Unfortunately, most of
            the others are simply a means of shifting the responsibility for our lives to someone
            else so we do not have to think or do anything about it ourselves.
                    Let's examine the list a little more closely to try to get an idea of what is really
            happening when we do these things.

            Example #1:  Calling 911
                    The 911 emergency response system is a great idea.  It has saved many lives
            and expedited help to people who were caught in a crisis that seemingly was not of
            their own making.  The help, medical or otherwise, was sorely needed and greatly 
            appreciated at the time.  
                    However, what if the emergency was the result of an "accident" that we 
            ourselves caused by carelessness, inattention, or just plain indifference.  Having 
            someone else bail us out of the mess we have caused may not be productive at all
            in the long run.  After the immediate crisis has been cleared up, what lesson was 
            learned from the mistake?  Did we learn never to make the same mistake again, 
            or did we learn that someone else will always be available to come and fix the 
            problems caused by our carelessness?  It's a critical lesson, and needs to be learned.

            Example #2:  Pills, drugs, or alcohol. 
                    Is it fair to lump these things together in one category?  I think so.  Whether a
            product that is designed to alter the body's chemical balance is called medicine, 
            recreational drugs, a social drink, or a dangerous mind-altering illegal substance, the 
            result is the same.  A physical change is effected that also produces a mental alteration.
            The two things always happen simultaneously, because the mind and the body are two
            halves of the same thing.  They are yoked together like two oxen pulling the same cart.
            We cannot push or pull either one of them without affecting the other.  
                    A lifetime of negative thinking of one kind or another will inevitably bring about
            physical problems, and treating these problems with a physical substance of any kind
            is the worst form of cop-out.  In the same way, physically abusing ourselves with 
            negative activities or chemical "treatments" will show up as a troubled, depressed, 
            or confused mind.  Whose fault or responsibility is that?  Should the troubled person
            see a doctor, a therapist, or a counselor?  Or should the "victim" simply change their
            life style or negative thinking to stop the downhill slide?

            Example #3:  Write Congress or complain to city government.
                    Far too many of us, when confronted with one of society's frustrating problems,
            respond with the attitude or the statement that "somebody should do something
            about it", or "they need to get busy and fix this".  Who are "they"?  They are the 
            doers, the problem solvers, the entrpreneurs, the pro-active people who get them-
            selves involved in negative situations affecting not just themselves, but others around
            them, or even society as a whole.  They pitch in and try to make a difference.  They
            are not the ones who march around in the streets carrying signs and demanding that
            the government, a corporation, or some other group make changes for them.  They 
            are not the ones who are first in line for any form of governmental hand-out, and 
            then complain loudly that their taxes are too high.

                    If you live in a democratic society, as many of you do, then you must realize that
            while it is necessary  that we communicate with our elected officials, the downfall of 
            our system begins when everyone is trying to vote himself a larger and large slice of 
            the pie.  Certain group responsibilities are sometimes best handled by a collective
            "government", but they are few, and must always be limited, or the government 
            becomes a master instead of the servant it is meant to be.  
                    The only way to stop the growth of governmental power, no matter the form, is
            for individual citizens to take the responsibility for their own and others welfare.  Many
            people do.  They are the problem-solvers of the world.  They are the builders, not the
            destroyers.  They can be captains of industry, the lowest menial laborer, or a mother
            who cares for her children.  It is not the position that matters, it is the attitude.
                    In the pages to come, we will try to expand on these and other thoughts about 
            our common status as human beings, and the responsibilities that go with that status.
            We will attempt to be positive, helpful, and specific.  None of the ideas expressed in 
            this writing will be brand new.  There are no new ideas, only new ways of stating the
            age-old facts of our existence.  For some reason, we feel the need to re-state some of
            these truths in our own words.  Maybe we can be of help to some readers, and by 
            planting a few seeds, make the whole garden more beautiful.                


​                   from  "Individual Responsibility"

                                                                           CHAPTER ONE

                                                            WHO ARE YOU?

                                       "Each life is charmed (Seven said), yours, and
                                        everyone else's, and you must never forget it.
                                        .....And there is a secret, a very simple one. Really, 
                                        it's not a secret, but YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER
                                        that your life is charmed."                                                                                                                                                                     ... Jane Roberts       

                        Who are you?  What are you?  Do you really know?  All right then, tell me.
                What if someone asked you these questions, and you were required to answer them
                as honestly as you can?  What would you say? 
                        Let's examine some possible answers:

                        (#1)  Your name:   The first answer most of us give to the question "who are you"
                is our name.  We all have one.  Why?  Because we were given one at birth, usually by
                our parent or parents who decided that it was what we should be called.  Most of us
                also seem to have acquired a "nickname" at some point, often a short version of our
                "real" name, but sometimes quite different.  Some of us like the names we have, but
                others don't, so they must decide whether to change them or just live with them.
                        The real question is, are you your name?  What if you had been given a different
                name in the beginning?  Would you now be a different person?  What if several of you
                have the same name?  Does that mean that all of you are alike?  Obviously not.  We
                could gather up as many John Smiths as we can find in the English speaking world
                (probably thousands) and no two of them would be exactly alike, so we would
                immediately be forced to find some other way of differentiating them.  Name tags 
                would be useless.  All right, then, your name is just part of who you are, especially if
                you've had it for a long time, but it is not all of you.  You would still exist if you didn't
                have a name.  Let's try another answer.

                        (#2)  Your parents:   Suppose you answer "who are you" by saying, " I am the 
                son or daughter of so and so and so and so. These two people did what people have
                always done to become parents and they brought me into the world, so that's who I
                am.  I am a direct descendant of their genes and chromosomes, just as they were
                descended from their parents, grandparents, etc."
                        This is probably a slightly better answer than your name, because if your parents
                had not "created" you, either purposely or accidentally, it is true that you would not be
                here in your present form.  There is definitely some reality in the genetic sequence
                that gives each of us part of our uniqueness.  Of all those John Smiths we mentioned,
                no two of them were born at the same moment of the same parents.  Only identical
                twins come close to that definition, and somehow even they are different.  We'll get to
                them later.
                        However, let us suppose that at the moment of your birth you were abandoned 
                by your mother and never again saw her or learned her identity, or that of your father
                either.  Do you still exist?  How can you identify yourself?  Modern science has, of 
                course, come to the rescue by discovering that each of us has a unique DNA "blueprint"
                planted in the cells of our body, but who wants to be called by the number designation
                of a laboratory sample?  What about the products of "artificial" insemination, or 
                surrogate mothers?  Who are these people if we cannot be sure about their exact 
                parentage?  Let us continue our search>

                        (#3)  Your country or nationality:   What if I said "who are you", and you answered
                me by saying "I am an American", or "an Englishman", or Chinese, Japanese, or any 
                other nationality?  There are many people in this world who are very proud of their 
                national heritage.  It is a matter of great importance to them and they are often quick to
                refer to the fact that they are Russian, Polish, Irish, or a similar term of identification.
                        The diverse cultures of the world are one of the features that make it such a 
                fascinating place to the social scientist.  What a boring world it would be if we were all
                alike.  The rich mosaic of nations, societies, life styles, and types of attire make living 
                on earth an endless source of delight.  That is, until some of us begin taking our 
                differences too seriously and escalate them into arguments, confrontation, or war.
                        Consider this, however.  Some of you have been in a situation where you were
                in the presence of a new-born baby and that baby was in a different room or otherwise
                out of your sight.  If and when that baby began to cry, there is no way you would be 
                able to determine the nationality, race, or sex  of that infant.  They all sound the same
                when they cry, as any nurse in a maternity ward can tell you.  (Incidentally, this is also
                true of laughter.  No-one laughs with an accent.)  All the differences in language or 
                speech patterns and habits are learned later, usually from family members.  Culture                                   is artificial and changeable.  All of us start out the same.
                        Furthermore, anyone who has ever flown in an airplane over one of the vast 
                number of national boundaries we have created can vouch for the fact that  the 
                boundaries, unless they are caused by an ocean, a river, or mountains, are not there
                at all.  We do not have one pink country, one blue country, and then one green 
                country as is often shown on our maps.  There is only one world, most of which is 
                covered by water.  We'll have to try to find another way to identify ourselves.  It appears
                that nationality, if not imaginary, is merely an "accident" of birth, and doesn't really 
                explain who we are any better than our name or our parentage.

                        (#4)  Your race or sex:   Now we're getting somewhere.  If you are a black male,
                or a white female, that is an obvious way that anyone can identify you on sight, isn't it?         
                Of course, there are lots of black males and white females, so we need to be more 
                specific than that.  If you talk, your voice is often a dead give-away to who you are.
                Others can perhaps get your sex, your race, your nationality, and even what part of a
                country you come from by hearing what you say and how you say it.  We have still not
                arrived at your individuality, however.  We haven't pinned down just who or what you
                really are.  No matter what group you belong to or what neighborhood you grew up in,
                there are probably still a whole lot more folks around who answer to the same 
                criteria, and are just like you in a lot of ways.  
                        What about the exceptions?  There are women whose voice sounds male, and
                men who have female inflections in their speech.  If I happen to be blind, then I 
                certainly can't tell by looking at you if you are black or white or male or female, unless
                your speech gives it away.  There are also many people who have a certain national
                heritage, but who have grown up in a totally different part of the world, and have no
                trace of any accent or speech patterns that would betray their biological connections.
                A black man from South Africa who speaks with an "English" accent does not sound
                anything like a black man who grew up in rural Mississippi.
                        If we are in a sports arena with thousands of people cheering, can we tell from 
                the sound how many of them are male, female, Arabic, Oriental, or Caucasian?  The
                roar of any crowd seems to sound just like the roar of any other crowd, unless they
                all happen to be male or are all female.  What if we look at a picture of this crowd, or
                even a larger crowd of perhaps a million people?  A crowd picture taken from an 
                airplane or a tall building shows no individuality at all, no matter what the make-up 
                of the crowd is.  All the little people look alike in any crowd.  Only distinctive clothing
                could help us identify them, and certainly we would not like being thought of as only
                our clothing, would we?  

                        (#5)  Your religion, or belief system:   Well, wait a minute.  There are a great 
                many people who spend a lot of time and/or money on picking out exactly the right
                apparel to give themselves a special "look", so that someone else knows who they
                are.  Priests dress in a certain way, devout Muslims have special dress codes, 
                motorcycle gangs and sports teams have their uniforms, and even teen-agers as a
                group tend to be identifiable by their attire.  Actually, if one dresses in a manner that
                is totally distinctive and doesn't appear to belong to any group, one tends to be 
                regarded as some kind of "kook" or "weirdo"'  We are almost expected to dress 
                ourselves in the same way as the other members of our country, religion, or age
                group.  Why is that?  Who makes these rules, anyway?
                        If i say that I am a Catholic, a Protestant, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or any
                other religion at all, does that mean I must put on certain clothing so that others can
                see it at a glance?  There are many who try to do exactly that, but it is not universally
                true, so we cannot depend on it for identifying who you are.
                        You can say that you are a Sikh and wear a beard and a turban (if you're male)
                to prove it, or you can have the "dreadlocks" hair style of a Rastafarian and come 
                from a Caribbean island, but does that really tell me who you are?  It is more apt to
                tell me who you are trying to be.  Our observation of many of the people in the world
                who call themselves "Christians" has been that if they didn't say they were, one 
                would never be able to tell it by the way they act.  In truth, there are so many 
                different forms of religion practiced in such a vast variety of ways, that labeling any
                of us in such a way is never very much help, and that doesn't even include those
                who call themselves atheists.  

                        (#6)  Your mind:   All right, I give up.  We are all different.  We are all unique
                (just like everybody else).  We are individuals, and almost any attempt to classify us
                turns out to be useless upon examination.  But that still doesn't help.  If we are 
                individuals, then we are individual what?   Rene Descartes wrote, "Je pense, donc
                je suis".  (In Latin, "Cogito, ergo sum."), which means "I think, therefore I am".  If he
                was right, then it is our organ of thinking, which we call our mind, that gives us our
                reality.  Our minds also seem to give us our individuality because, at least of the 
                level of our conscious minds, there is a separation between us.  Your thoughts are 
                not my thoughts, and mine belong to no-one else.  Maybe elsewhere we can, but 
                here on earth, we are not very able to read each other's minds. 
                        So is it safe to say that you are your mind, and I am mine?  Before we say that,
                I suppose it would be wise to define just what we are talking about when we use the
                word "mind".  Here we are in a little bit of trouble, because in my Webster's dictionary
                there is a whole column of definitions of, and uses for the word "mind".  Obviously, it
                means a lot of things.  To begin with, the original English word mynd and the Anglo-
                Saxon word gemynd meant what we now call memory
                        That makes sense to me, because I can't imagine an information processing
                device that cannot remember the information it processes, even for a short time.
                A human mind that doesn't recall a lot of stored information is not of much use to 
                it's owner or the world, and is generally regarded as defective in some way.  So we 
                can conclude that the mind we are talking about is at least a data processing tool 
                and a remembering tool, if it's working properly.  
                        There are also two other functions that are generally attributed to our minds.  
                Those are learning, and creating.  This is very interesting  because, as we shall see,
                it is possible that both learning and creating are merely other forms of remembering.  
                While it is true that there is some sort of separation between our conscious minds,
                it is also fairly well established that there is something called "collective consciousness",
                or "universal mind" that includes all of us.  Because of this connection, there is a 
                constant circulation of information going on involving what appears to be an infinite
                data bank, and we all have access to it to one degree or another.  That quality we 
                refer to as intelligence may just depend on how well each of us can make use of the
                available data.  
                        Let us not digress.  We are trying to define our status as individuals, and we 
                have already concluded that your conscious thoughts are yours and mine are mine.
                We might also fairly state that your memories are not the same as mine, because 
                your life is different.  It's not even a big stretch to conclude that the only thing that
                separates us at all is our memory, because at the end of a lifetime of experiences,
                memories are all we have left to take with us if life goes on.  So is that all we are?
                Memory collectors?  You collect yours, and I'll collect mine?
                        We began this chapter with a different question: namely, "who are you?"
                I will now suggest another way to look at this question that I believe might alter
                your own idea of yourself if you seriously consider it.  As previously mentioned,
                this is not a whole new concept, and many of you understand it, and live your
                lives accordingly.  This book is aimed at the millions of people out there who do not
                understand who they really are, and believe, like Hamlet that they are "suffering the
                slings and arrows of outrageous fortune".  Most people would agree that one of the
                more effective minds of the 20th century belonged to Albert Einstein, physicist,
                philosopher, and all-around genius.  This is what he said:

                        "A human being is a part of the whole, called by us 'universe'.  A part limited
                in time and space, he experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something
                separate from the rest -  a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This 
                delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal decisions and to 
                affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from
                this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and
                the whole nature in its beauty."

                        All right, let's get to the point.  If we are not our name, our parents, our country,
                our race, our sex, or our belief system, and we are obviously more than just a mind,
                then who, or what, are we?

                                WHAT YOU ARE, AND WHAT I AM, IS A PERSPECTIVE.

                        We are each a different point of view from which to experience the thing we 
                call Creation.  Not only that, but we are also a part of the creative process itself.
                We have been entrusted with the ability to help make our own reality with our
                limitless consciousness, and then to experience it, and yes, collect memories. That                                 is our function, and our reason for being.  If the experiencing and collecting are not                                 joyful, it is merely because we have been doing it wrong.  We have violated rule
                number one, and we are paying the consequences of our mistake.

​          from  "Individual Responsibility"

                                                             CHAPTER TWO

                                        THREE SIMPLE RULES

                               "Live as if you were living already for the           
                                     second time and as if you had acted the first 
                                    time as wrongly as you are about to act now."
                                                                                ... Victor Frankl

       What is rule number one?  Here it is.  Write it down and hang it on your wall.  

        RULE NO. 1:


                Now, where have we heard that before?  That's old.  I learned that when
        I was in kindergarten.  That's what you're saying, isn't it?  Everybody knows 
        that.  It's called the golden rule.  Why is it golden?  Come on, the answer is 
        obvious.  Because it is probably the most valuable piece of information your
        mind is ever going to process.  That's why.  Have we always done it?  You 
        tell me.
                If you haven't always obeyed this rule, that's a big reason why your life
        might be screwed up.  i know I haven't, and I have the physical and emotional
        scars to prove it.  I'm going to expand on this rule, because it is so important.
        I'm going to try to help you all understand why it is important, and what happens
        when we break it.
                Let's talk a little bit more about who you are, because once we understand
        that, it becomes pretty clear why we have to treat everyone else with the respect
        they deserve.  Perhaps you have always thought of yourself as a "human being", 
        a sort of higher animal who is different from other animals because you have a 
        thing called a soul.  That's not too far wrong, but it's backwards.  (Incidentally, 
        animals have souls, too, but they're not the same as ours.)  You are not an
        animal that has a soul.  You are a multidimensional timeless soul/entity that is
        temporarily using an animal body.  You have not always been an animal, but 
        you have always been a soul.
                The creation we are part of is a continuous process.  It has always been
        going on, and the thing we call "time" has nothing to do with it.  Your soul didn't
        just suddenly appear when your body was born.  It is an eternal part of the 
        creative force that is sometimes called God (or Good).  Among other things, it is
        the "experiencer" part.  If you build something, you want to use it, don't you?
        You want to at least look at it and enjoy it in some way.  The reason you are 
        like that is that the Creator is like that, and you are part of the Creator.
                When this "God" creates, he/she automatically becomes two things: the
        creation, and the means of observing or experiencing it.  You are that means.
        There would be no creation if it could not be observed in some way, so that 
        makes you important.  Every single one of us is important for the same reason.
        We are all just different points of view from which the creative force can enjoy
        the creation.  It's critical to  realize that no one "point of view" is any more
        important than any other.  
                One more thing we better get clear right now is this:  Since we are all 
        part of the creative force, we are not just "experiencers".  We are also 
        constantly creating our own reality with our multi-level consciousness.  If we
        don't like what we see, we have the power to change it.  
                How did we get here?  Well, that's a long story, but here is the simple 
        version.  Our solar system is only one part of the limitless and on-going creation
        that is to be experienced, and some of us have dropped in to do that, and learn
        from the visit.  Your soul, any soul, being part of the Creator, can do pretty
        much anything it wants to do within the rules of the "Uni-verse" (literally, "one
        word", or"one voice"), so some of us just decided to hang around here for a 
        while.  The little planet we call Earth is made up of energy forms we call water, 
        minerals, plants, animals, etc., so in order to be here, we had to assume these
                This is an over-simplification, but basically what happens is this.  First,
        there was an involution as various soul/entities began to try to experience the
        life of this solar system, then, through a process of trial and error, and animal
        body was formed that would be a suitable vehicle for our use, and we became
        part of the world.  Also, since the energy level we call physical has among its 
        characteristics "space" and "time", we have to deal with them, too.  They are
        not a factor for some other levels of our existence, and that is basically why
    `  the hardest lesson most of us have to learn while we are here is patience.
        We're not used to the limitations of time and space.  
                As mentioned, this process has been going on "forever".  We're not going
        to cease to exist just because we don't happen to be here on earth for a while.
        There are no limits to this creation, so we will never run out of places to "be" 
        or things to experience.  The only thing that can cause problems for us is 
        using our creative rights, or "free will" to interfere with those of another soul/
        entity who has the same rights as we have.  Every time one of us does that, 
        it's like throwing sand in the gears of creation, and things stop running smoothly.
                There is also no limit to the number of souls available, and so many of us
        have come here and interfered with each other for so long, that it appears that
        the entire earth is at risk.  That has happened before, and may happen again.        
        Earth has its own life cycle, just as each one of us has while we are here, and 
        in the long run we will not change it very much.  We do have an obligation to 
        try, however, because we are not only the experiencers of the earth while we 
        are here, but also its stewards.  Another basic rule of the creation is that "for
        every action there is an equal and opposite reaction", so every mis-deed, no
        matter how small, has its repercussions.
                So you see, the "golden rule" really cannot be broken.  We can only break
        ourselves against it, because it is not going to change.  The truth is, whether our
        organized "religions" accept it or not, having involved ourselves voluntarily with
        each other and the world, we are going to have to keep coming here as long as
        it takes for each of us to get it right.  Killing each other does not solve the 
        problem, it merely prolongs it.  God is in no hurry.  We can make ourselves 
        happy or un-happy as long as we want to.

        RULE NO. 2

                BE HERE NOW.

                Be here now.  This is the title of a popular book that was written a half-
        century ago by a man named Richard Alpert, who now calls himself Ram Dass.
        it is more than a book title, though.  We believe it is one of the three funda-
        mental rules of living well in time and space.  It is a beautifully succinct, three
        word sentence that says it all.  
                We must BE, because that's who we are.  DO-ing is only the natural result
        of BE-ing, but we can't stop BE-ing even if we DO nothing.  We must be HERE,
        because in order to function in a limitless realm, we have to focus on it one 
        part at a time.  That's why there are so many of us, so we can each concentrate
        on our own little corner of creation.  We must be here NOW, because NOW is
        all there is.  Getting caught up in an imaginary past or future just confuses us.
        As far as one's conscious mind is concerned, the past is memory, and the 
        future is a dream.  It is always NOW.  Religious leaders like to talk about 
        eternity as though it were an endless extension of time in only one direction -
        the future.  That's misleading.  Eternity is the complete absence of time.  It is
        NOW.  There is no time.  There is only endless change, and time is how we 
        measure it when we are HERE.
                What about BE-ing?  What's the difference between BE-ing and DO-ing?
        This is a world where something is going on all the time.  Something or some-
        body is always DO-ing.  Doing something is how you know you're alive.  Rocks
        don't appear to be alive, because they look like they're not doing anything.
        They just sit there, and we don't want to be just a rock.  Actually, rocks are
        alive, too.  They just change at a much slower pace than we do, so it's hard to
        notice, but that's not the point.  
                You and I have chosen to be human beings, not rocks.  We have to act
        like the caretakers of the earth that we have elected to be.  That means doing
        something.  Plants grow.  Animals live and die.  Whole species come and go in
        the blink of an eye.  There's a lot going on here.  What are we supposed to do?
        It might be easier to describe what we are not supposed to do.
                Since each of our souls has become entangled with the genetic coding of
        a primate animal, we are now tempted by the primate instincts of survival, sex,
        and social standing.  We now have a hybrid consciousness, called the EGO, 
        which can align itself with the primate instincts or the eternal soul/entity.  Our
        ultimate goal is to learn to manage these instincts so the soul is as free in the
        body as our of it.  When we can do that, we can experience the blissful BE-ing
        of an entity that knows it will never die, and that it is a part of a creation of
        endless beauty and wonder.
                The way to accomplish this is to periodically stop DO-ing on a regular 
        basis (as in sleep or meditation) and become aware of the I AM inside of you
        that is merely the observer of what your ego is doing.  With practice, we can
        all do this.  The path to goodness for us and for the world is for each of us to
        search for and find the eternal soul that we really are.  While we are engaged 
        in that BE-ing process, we can do no wrong.
                How can we be HERE, and why should we?  This is fairly obvious, and to
        a certain extent, we all do it.  Every time we focus our attention on one thing, 
        or concentrate fully on what we happen to be doing, we are being HERE.  Our
        minds are so active that it seems we are always thinking about several different
        things at once, but in fact that is not true.  The conscious mind can only think
        in a linear fashion, so all of these thoughts are merely appearing in a single-
        file sequence, one at a time.
                Being HERE is merely a matter of stopping the procession of thoughts for
        a short time, and giving our attention to only one of them.  This is a tremen-
        dously important ability to develop, because ones productivity increases ex-
        ponentially along with their level of concentration.  It is also just plain common
        sense.  What good is a beautiful sunset if we don't notice it?  No matter what 
        we are experiencing, if our mind is elsewhere while we are doing it, we missed
        it.  We have just lost a life opportunity that may never come again.
                The trick is to teach ourselves to concentrate, moment to moment, on 
        what is happening around us and to take in as much of it as we can.  Even if
        it is painful, totally experiencing it may mean that we never have to do it again.
        Only by doing this can we say that we are truly alive, and the people who do it
        best are invariably the most interesting souls you will meet.  
                Incidentally, that is why sex often reaches the level of a religious 
        experience.  It is virtually impossible for most of us to think about anything
        else while we are occupied in a sexual encounter.  That's the kind of concen-
        tration it takes to bring new souls into the world, which should give us some
        idea of how important that process is. 
                Be here NOW.  Well, of course, we can't help it.  We are here now, 
        whether we like it or not.  You often hear people say when they are frustrated
        with the world,  "I didn't ask to be born".  That is simply not true.  They did 
        too ask to be born, or at least they agreed to it when they were convinced of 
        the wisdom of the choice.  We all were even intimately involved in the selection
        of our parents, so that cannot be blamed on someone else, either.
                It does no good for any of us to whine about our circumstances, no
        matter how unpleasant they may seem.  To an almost universal level, we have
        each created our own reality, and it is our challenge and our privilege to find
        a way to improve it.  Blaming one's parents for our present life situation is a 
        perfect example of living in the past, and day-dreaming about some distant
        future life that we long for is almost as unproductive.  Since the entire creation
        really consists of one big fat eternal NOW, it behooves all of us to remember
        that and focus our attention on fixing the NOW we can see.  The NOW that we
        have in the future when we arrive there will automatically be improved by 
        dealing correctly with the present.
                The fact that many people at any given time do not seem to have control
        over their present circumstances gives the rest of us a golden opportunity to
        find ways to help.  If we can help, we must, or run the risk of finding ourselves
        in that position in some other NOW.  There are endless ways to help each other 
        in this world, and no matter how we do it, we cannot avoid helping ourselves in
        the process.  We must learn to BE who we are, an eternal part of a creator 
        whose very name is Good, and we must do it in the HERE and NOW that we 
        have, so that we can move on to others that are even more exciting.

        RULE NO. 3

                What is energy?  You are.  I am.  A rock is.  A thought is.  A tree is.
        An animal is.  Energy is all there is.  What's the definition of ENERGY?  In
        Latin , ergon is the word for work.  To be en-ergos is to be at work.  The 
        Creator is at work here, and the forms of that work are infinite in number.  
        One more thing.  The various forms of the Creator's work, or energy, are
        interchangeable.   You will learn, or you already have in your school physics
        class, that energy cannot be destroyed.  It can only be changed into some 
        other form of energy.  This is definitely one of the most vital pieces of 
        information that our minds can absorb.  Once we understand that the 
        process we are calling life is merely the process of rearranging energy, then
        there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.  
                What many of the physics teachers have often overlooked, however, is
        that thoughts are energy, too.  Every single thought that you or I or anyone
        else thinks has electro-magnetic reality.  Therefore, thoughts can also be 
        transformed into other kinds of energy.  Not only can thoughts change into
        other energy forms, but because of the creative forces behind them, it is 
        impossible to stop them from doing so.  I'm going to repeat that.  NOT ONLY
        FROM DOING SO!
                How important is that?  It should be deeply impressed into the mind of
        every child as soon as they can comprehend it.  MIND is the builder.  The
        physical world is an out-growth of the mental one.  It is never the other way
        around.  A  little clarification might be helpful here.  Every thought that we 
        have does not find its way into physical reality, but there are other worlds 
        besides this one, whether we can see them or not.  The important thing to
        know is that the thoughts we repeat over and over, and especially the ones
        with emotional intensity behind them, are the ones that will eventually 
        become physical.  Think of a train with your mind as the engine and all the 
        rest of the world as the cars of the train.  It is possible to bring the train to
        a halt by putting the brakes on in all of the cars, but it is not possible to 
        start the train moving without first firing up the engine.  
                In the same way, your mind can be overwhelmed by too many negative
        influences (brakes) in your world, but it is the only thing that can get your
        life moving in the right direction again if it stops.  All of the problems in the 
        world, and by extension the whole world, can ultimately be traced to the 
        incorrect use of someone's or everyone's mind.  All of the real progress in your
        life or that of the world is a final result of the proper use of mental energy.
        It never going to be otherwise, no matter how hard we try.
                This is no idle theory.  Lets talk physics for a moment.  Today's top
        empirical scientists are involved in the study of a process they can "quantum
        mechanics", a complicated attempt to understand the basic movement and
        changes that take place in physical energy forms.  They deal with ever smaller
        and smaller components of matter, going farther and farther "down" from
        molecules to atoms to electrons, to quarks, mesons, bosons, etc. in an attempt
        to find the ultimate source of life energy.  It gets to the point where they can't
        agree on whether light is composed of waves or particles and the various 
        definitions of each.  What has been discovered, however,  in this quest is that
        there are some energy "particles" that are so small that they do not exist until
        some attention is paid to them.  They seem to come into being only when made
        use of in some experiment.  If that is not changing thoughts directly into matter,
        then what is it?  
                Those who take a "holistic" view of medical science are daily finding more
        and more relationships and inter-dependence between their patient's minds and
        bodies.  Certainly the energy of ones mind can be altered by physical forces,
        drugs being one of the more obvious influences, but where does the drug's 
        energy come from?  Is it inherent in the chemical formula of the substance, or
        is it the result of a mass belief in the properties of the product?  It it's all about
        chemistry, then why do placebos often work?  
                There are endless examples of the transfer of energy to and from the 
        physical world and the mental one, to say nothing of another level of energy
        that might be called emotional, or "spiritual".  It has been shown, for instance,
        that meals prepared "lovingly" are more nutritionally beneficial that the same
        meals created with indifference.  How can we explain that?  We will have more
        to say on the subject of the force called "love" later, but for now we must admit
        that there is a lot left to learn about the "vibes" in our world.  
                What has all this got to do with responsibility?  It should be clear by now
        that we cannot help influencing the world around us not only by what we do,
        but also profoundly by what we think.  Every single thought entertained by 
        every one of us is like a pebble tossed into a pond that creates ripples in all
        directions.  Powerful or sustained thoughts are like big rocks that make a big
        splash.  Only by controlling the energy of those thoughts can we hope to improve
        our world.  
                One statement I made earlier is that "God is Energy".  I know that is going
        to offend some folks who are caught up in a belief system that stresses a    
        personal father-type God.  I see no conflict here at all.  Christianity for instance
        is fond of saying that "God is Love", and most would have no problem admitting
        that love could be called a force, or form of energy.  If that is so, then the words
        GOD, LOVE, and ENERGY are almost interchangeable.  The fact that each one of
        us has a thing called a personality merely shows that we are replicas of a 
        creative force or energy that probably has one, too.  If our lives don't express 
        the LOVE of the creative force, then the fault is no doubt ours, and we should
        fix it.  That's pretty much all that the world's great religious leaders have always
        been saying.
                Think of your Creator, whatever you call it, as the power company and 
        yourself as a light bulb.  Your effectiveness as a human light bulb depends 
        entirely on the quality of your connection to the power company.  No connection, 
        no power.  Electrical energy, or love, whichever term you use, cannot flow 
        through a broken wire or a corroded circuit.  It is the responsibility of every one
        of us to maintain the circuitry so that all of our spiritual, mental, and physical
        matrices are running smoothly.  How can we do this?  


                2.  BE HERE NOW.

                3.  ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT EVERYTHING IS ENERGY.                                                   

                                                             CHAPTER THREE   


                            "If you're looking to find the key to the universe, 
                                I have some bad news and some good news.  The                                                                      bad news is: There is no key to the universe.  The                                                                        good news is:  It has been left unlocked."
                                                                                       ...  Anon.

                             "In nature's infinite book of secrecy,  little I can read."
                                  ...  from Antony and Cleopatra, by Wm. Shakespeare

                Infinity is a word with which we are all familiar.  There is even an automobile
        with this name.  It's a common term, but we all seem to have a difficult time work-
        ing with the ideas of limitless time, limitless space, or an un-ending number of 
        individual souls.  
                At the end of Thomas Sugrue's wonderful  biography of the seer Edgar Cayce,
        called "There is a River", there is a chapter entitled Philosophy.  It begins with the
        sentence, "man demands a beginning and a boundary".  It's true.  That is the 
        problem.  We do insist on having limits to everything so we can measure it and 
        somehow understand it better.  The difficulties we create for ourselves by this
        insistence are, if you'll pardon the expression, endless.
                If we have any hope at all of grasping the meaning and purpose of our 
        existence, we are going to have to work through this problem and shake ourselves
        free from the restrictions caused by our own ideas of limitations.  Let's get this out
        of the way right now.  The human personality has NO limitations, except those which
        it accepts.  Whatever we can imagine, we can bring about. Period.  There are no 
        restrictions other than those we agree on.  We are capable of creating a heaven
        right here on earth, and we are also capable of causing the destruction of the planet.
        However, because of the vast amount of "time" programmed into the earth's life
        cycle, none of us are apt to see either of these conditions in our "present" form.
                Did you catch that?  I used the word "time", and we both know that there is
        no such thing.  So how are we going to talk about such things as time, space, 
        infinity, and numberless souls at all?  It will be difficult, perhaps, but we'll have to 
        try.  We are here to discover what our responsibilities are as human beings, and we
        can't very well do that unless we are pretty clear about what a human being really is.
                Here's an idea of what I am talking about.  I'll bet many of you have never
        thought of this.  Where are you now?  I'll tell you.  No matter where you think you 
        are, you are in the exact center of the entire universe.  The whole thing is revolving
        around you at every moment.  Of course, that's true about me, too -- and your 
        neighbor, and your friends, and even your enemies if you have any.
                How is this possible?  It's simple.  The universe is infinite.  There are no edges
        or boundaries anywhere, so that means that everyplace in the universe can be the
        center, and always is.  That's a hard concept if we insist on thinking about the uni-
        verse in only physical terms, but remember Rule No. 3 - Everything is energy.  That
        which we insist on believing is matter is really just an endless field of potential energy,
        and you and I are right in the center of it, helping to create it with every little thought
        that pops into heads.  Does that make you feel responsible?  It certainly should, but
        don't get too excited.  So is everyone else, aren't they?
                While we are discussing endless space and time, there is one other little matter
        I would like to clear up before we go any farther.  Our empirical scientists, relying on
        their five wonderful senses, have for centuries been studying our world, our solar 
        system, and now "outer" space to get some grasp of what it's all about.  What they
        have learned and accomplished is very fascinating to be sure, but only the wisest of
        them have really caught on to what they were seeing.  
                The only way to really understand this creation is to go beyond the five senses
        entirely and begin to see it with our minds and our imagination.  We cannot measure
        infinite space with finite technical equipment, and it is a waste of time to try, but we
        can imagine it, and thus begin to work with the concept.  We hear a lot of speculation,
        for instance, about whether there is or has been, "life" on other planets, either in our
        solar system or another.  How silly is that?  
                 Look, the creation does not have an end, so it cannot be counted or measured
        in any way.  If we insist on finding planets that have "life" on them, we are going to 
        find billions of them, and we will still be looking.  There might just be a more pro-
        ductive way to spend our time, like improving life on this planet.  Unfortunately, a 
        lot of the effort we spend to improve our own lives is focused on extending the years
        of out visit here, and not on finding or fulfilling its purpose.
                Enough about time and space and solar systems, etc.  Time is really just a way
        of measuring space, and space is a means of measuring time.  They go together, like
        all the other apparent dualities in this creation,  and they only apply to the energy 
        level we refer to as physical, anyway.  Let's talk about souls.  How many are there? 
        Right, you're getting ahead of me now, aren't you?  An infinite number.  Why don't
        we stop trying to count them and start trying to get a better understanding of what
        they are?  Wait a minute, that's what we are, isn't it?  So all we have to do is 
        understand ourselves, and then we will understand all the other souls, won't we?
        Wow, what a concept!  Where have I heard that before?  Well, we can quote Plato, 
        for one.  In book VIII of "The Republic", he says "You cannot conceive the many 
        without the one".
                Why would this be so?  Because the many and the one are the same thing.
        You and I are self-contained holographic models of the Creative force, whatever we
        choose to call it.  We cannot help creating, because it is our nature.  We can postpone
        creative activity forever if we want to, because it is our choice, but in the end, the
        overwhelming pressure of creation will force us to grow whether we want to or not. 
        The creation is like a great river with a mighty current.  We can only swim upstream
        for so long without getting very tired, and then we realize that it is much simpler to
        go with the current.  
                Deep inside all of us, well below the level of our conscious minds, is the eternal
        I AM that is the essence of all things.  If we are not aware of it, it is only because we
        have forgotten it in our passion to be separate from all others like us.  It's all right, 
        because in the symphony that is life, the flute is not supposed to sound like the 
        cello, but the illusion of separateness is the cause of most of our pain and frustration.
                In the interest of simplicity, we will try to create a model for the human 
        individual.  Bear with us here.  These are concepts that might stretch credibility to 
        the limit.  Our poor little linear conscious minds are not very well adapted to limit-
        less thinking, but let's imagine for a few minutes, anyway.
                We'll start with a creative force that we'll call "All That Is", a generic term for
        which you can substitute any name you prefer.  This creative force becomes Yin and
        Yang, positive and negative, creator and creation, or however else you want to 
        divide it.  This is no doubt an over-simplification, but the concept is the same - 
        a creation, and the means of experiencing it.  
                We will call this means "souls", or better yet "entities'.  Each soul-entity has the
        full potential of the creative force, but the ability to assume a limited viewpoint from
        which to see the endless project.  There are, of course, and infinite number of entities,
        or viewpoints.  Because of their potential, these entities also have the ability to sub-
        divide into multiple viewpoints, as well as the power to develop their own agenda
        for creation.  We call that part 'free will".
                Since we at present are not intimately concerned with those entities who do 
        not inhabit our corner of the universe, we will simplify this model even further by
        focusing on the relatively small number of us who have become involved with the
        planet Earth.  This involvement, incidentally, includes all the other planets in our
        solar system as well, but not in "physical" form, so it is difficult for us to understand.
                We, as individual soul-entities, have chosen to experience this system with
        part of our multi-dimensional reality, and in order to do so, we have accepted some
        of the limitations that go with it.  Experiencing physical reality is very much like the
        situation you have when you dive into a lake or a pool and become completely 
        submerged in the water.  To begin with, you can only stay there for a short time
        without drowning, which is similar to a life-span on earth as a human.  In addition,
        you can now no longer see what is going on above the water's surface, and you can
        only hear a little, and understand even less.  You are forced to find a new way of 
        getting about (we call it swimming), and you are in an entirely different environment
        than before you took the plunge.  The only way you can resume your life outside the
        water is to climb back out of the lake or the pool back onto "dry land".  We call that
                As you might expect, it is much more complex than that in actual practice.  To
        begin with, the soul-entity, with its ability to sub-divide its consciousness, does not
        invest all of its energy in one life form at a time.  Your human ego (the combined
        personality and primate consciousness that you have adopted) is only a portion of
        your soul's total energy.  There may or may not be other personalities, here or else-    
        where in space and time, that are part of the same entity, as well as the part of you
        that is not focused on the physical level at all.  
                This process can vary tremendously, so we cannot make a lot of assumptions
        about ourselves or anyone else, but it can be stated that there is always a lot of 
        internal communication going on with our parent-soul and any or all other parts of it.
        This can take the form of dreams, intuition, hunches, memories, fears, tendencies, or
        other thoughts and feelings when filtered down to our conscious minds.  Our 
        conscious thoughts have a directive effect, however, which communicates in the 
        other direction, so we are back to the idea of responsibility.  
                Many people these days are re-acquainting themselves with the idea that they
        call re-incarnation.  This is definitely not a new concept, having been understood 
        much more fully by other generations for thousands of earth-years.  It is simply a 
        time-represented example of the soul's ability to exist in more than one place (or
        time).  At any rate, all time is simultaneous anyway, so therefore all "lifetimes" exist
        at once as well.  They only appear to be sequential because of our conscious focus.
                The best analogy we ever heard about this situation is the picture of a multi-
        level chess game being played on a stack of boards, where every move on every
        board has an effect on the game being played on every other level.  The idea of
        "karma" where one's "present" lifetime is influenced by past action is very mis-
        leading.  All our soul-entity's activities effect all one's other thoughts and actions, 
        whether considered to be in the past, the present, or the future.  A more accurate
        view of re-incarnation would have to include all "future" lives, at any rate.
                Consciously it does little good to worry about other lifetimes on earth, because
        we have all deliberately come here at this point in space and time to work on 
        specific areas of our development which require our attention to be focused on the
        HERE AND NOW.  Like a tree which must have its roots in the ground as well as its
        branches that reach for the sky, we need to expand our awareness in both directions
        simultaneously.  Pay too much attention to the ground, and the leaves will wither and
        die.  Ignore our roots, and the whole plant will perish.  
                Having come here, we need to care about the earth and its life.  It is part of the
        grand scheme, and equally as important as any other part.  We are not, however, 
        supposed to become trapped here by refusing to see that it is only one place to "be",
        and clinging desperately and blindly to physical life.  The earth will be here long after
        we have left time and space for good, so let us try to remember who we are.  In
        remembering, we will find the bliss we think we have lost.
                In the same way that it is not very helpful to try to measure infinite time or
        space, it is also not very productive to count "people", who are only fragments of 
        souls, when the number of souls is endless.  With our narrow view of the world,
        we have a tendency to worry about Earth's population and what we perceive of as
        threatening population growth.  We must understand that the number of person-    
        alities here at any given earth-time is infinitesimal in comparison to the total number
        (infinity) available, no matter how crowded it seems.
                Earth's population ebbs and flows over ages and ages of Earth's years, and 
        the one we are seeing now is only the most recent gathering.  It is true that we can
        do temporary damage to the planet by our collective ecological choices, but it is far
        more likely that we will drastically reduce our own numbers for a while if we insist on
        being destructive.  In either case, the planet will survive, and continue on its own
        evolutionary course, with or without us.
                Earth, along with the rest of our Sun-system, has its own energy, its own 
        purpose, and its own life span.  We are merely visitors who have been here for a
        relatively short time in earth years (even a million years is short) and of course,
        should conduct ourselves as well-mannered guests are supposed to.  This alone
        would make more of us happy while we are here, and the earth would flourish 
        with abundance.  We have merely scratched the surface of the planet's limitless
        potential.  It is capable of supporting far more of us if we just behave ourselves.
                Again, because of our insistence on thinking with only the linear conscious
        portion of our minds, even though we instinctively know that there are other worlds
        or realms "out there" somewhere, we expect them to be like this one in some way.
        No doubt there are many other solar systems that are similar to ours, but the whole
        objective of this creation is endless growth and diversity, so why should we care?
        We simply need to immerse ourselves in the wonders that are immediately apparent
        to us, and watch them unfold into even greater miraculous discoveries.
                We cannot see infinity with our conscious mind.  It is not designed for the job,
        We can only imagine it, and imagination is the doorway into greater awareness.  A
        conscious mind is a specific tool for a specific job.  Its function is to assimilate the 
        input from the body's five senses, make sense of it, and relay it to our mind's inner
        levels.  We are also supposed to make use of the vast data available on these levels
        by paying attention to it, which will add amazing richness to our physical life.  The
        objective, as we have said, is infinite experience and growth for the soul, and thus 
        for all creation.  
                If we can begin to look at this world and others from our soul's perspective,
        then the infinite nature of our real home will become more and more apparent to us.
        Our temporary blindness is our own choice.  We can cure it.  We ultimately will
        cure it.  How long that takes is up to us.


                                                                        CHAPTER FOUR

                                                            PHYSICAL RESPONSIBILITY

                                                "No snowflake in an avalanche feels responsible."
                                                                                               ...   Anon.

                All right, we have established who we are and we have considered the reasons why
        we might be here.  We have laid out three rules for conduct that will presumably give us
        progress and/or happiness.  We have discussed the infinite nature of the creation we 
        inhabit.  Now let's get down to business.  There is a lot more to cover.
                We need practical, every-day instructions on how to get along in this world at least
        as much as we need grand philosophical ideals.  This chapter is called "Physical" Respons-
        ibility, but we know that the world physical is just a label for one of the many energy 
        levels that we can inhabit.  It is a fundamental error to assume that physical life is some-
        how less important than our mental or spiritual realities.
                It is not less important.  It is merely different.  In the diatonic musical scale, is the
        E less important than the F?  No, they are simply sounds produced with different vibration
        rates, and are both needed.  In the same way, physical reality is a different rate of energy
        vibration than mental or spiritual reality.  Let us not forget also that none of these differ-
        ent energy levels is more or less real than any other.  The fact that we can only see the
        physical world merely proves that it is the limited function of our physical eyes.  
                Having said that, let's concentrate for a while on this three-dimensional physical
        level so that we can figure out exactly what our responsibilities are while we're here.
        That won't be hard for most of us, because we have been instinctively focused on this 
        world almost every waking moment since we were born.  Waking minutes, of course, are
        not the same as sleeping minutes.  Our dreams, when we are asleep, are the result of
        concentrating on another non-physical level.  We'll talk about that, too.
                We have a problem here.  It's going to be very hard to be specific  about our 
        responsibility when everyone's job here is a little different from everyone else's.  We all
        have our own soul-history and specific soul interests or problems that we are working on.
        There are groups, categories, and general responsibilities to be sure, but the fascinating
        truth is that never has been or ever will be another person just like you or me or anyone
        else.  We may look alike, and even act alike, but just like the flowers in the fields, we are
        never exactly the same.
                How shall we subdivide humanity to make this project manageable?  We can con-
        sider age groups, for example.  The responsibilities of a child from age 1 to age 10 are
        certainly not the same as those of a teen-ager, and neither of those groups can be 
        expected to act just like a 20 or 30 year old adult.  People change, sometimes radically, 
        with every passing decade, and so do their day-to-day responsibilities.  
                What about social groups?  A person born into a nomadic, or even a completely 
        agricultural environment cannot be expected to  have the same priorities as an urban
        child or adult.  And of course, there's the matter of sex.  Men and women are so 
        obviously different in so many ways that we certainly must have different rules for their
        behavior, unless like many, their sexual focus has become more complicated  than that.
        What do we say about those who seem to feel that their body's sexual equipment does  
        not match their point of view?
                And so on and so on.  Black people do not feel like white people, who do not feel
        like Asians, who do not feel like Caribbeans or Polynesians, who do not feel like Middle
        Eastern Arabs.  Catholics do not want to be Protestants.  Muslims do not want to be
        Buddhists or Hindus.  We have virtual warfare going on between those who align them-
        selves with different religious points of view, and that doesn't even begin to consider the
        position of those who call themselves Jews.  Nobody seems to agree with their perspective
        of the world.
                Are we going to try to cover all the varying possibilities of every person's situation, 
        or are we going to focus in on the similarities we share and concern ourselves only with
        general rules of conduct that apply to everyone?  The answer is yes.  We are going to do
        both.  Let's start with the general rules.
                In chapter two we made a point of trying to simplify this problem as much as 
        possible by reducing our recommendations down to three simple rules.  They are 
        important even if they are not simple, so we will refresh our memory by repeating them.

                #1.  Always treat everyone else the way you want to be treated.
                #2.  Be here now.
                #3.  Remember:  Everything is energy.

                There is no doubt that if suddenly everyone on the planet began to live their life
        according to these three concepts, the change in society would be immediate and 
        profound.  Expecting it to happen is the same as believing  that in one 24-hour period, 
        all of the second-grade students in an elementary school would become as smart as 
        eighth graders.  It's a nice idea, but apparently this is not how the world works.  Our 
        purpose in stating these rules is based on the belief that if enough people read and 
        consider them, a few will actually try to apply them, and if it's done even on a limited
        basis by a few, the results will be positive.
                Another of the basic concepts that we have come to accept because of our own
        observation is:   There is no such thing as wasted effort.
                Because of the principle of equal and opposite reaction, it is impossible for us to 
        apply ourselves to anything, good or bad, without eventually producing a result.  A 
        better understanding of this fact might begin to cause second thoughts in the mind of
        someone who is planning to do something that they know is not right.  It would also 
        help to eliminate the discouragement we feel when the hoped-for positive results of our
        efforts are not immediately forthcoming.
                This idea also bears repeating.  Nobody expects to plant a seed in the ground and
        then stand back to immediately watch something grow.  We are accustomed to tending
        our gardens and then waiting for sun and water and time to nurture them to maturity.
        Why should we expect that any other kind of seed we plant should work otherwise?  
        Not only will most of our efforts grow into physical reality in time, so will our thoughts,
        and they will produce fruit of exactly the same kind as we planted.
                Much of the misery in the world is created by people who have the mistaken im-
        pression that they can continue to do or think the wrong things and somehow, miracu-
        lously, they will eventually receive positive results.  Short term benefits can often produce
        long term problems, and conversely, concentrated positive effort, though sometimes 
        painful, can work long term wonders.
                This idea of printing up a set of rules for human behavior is not exactly new.  The
        Old Testament in the Bible has a famous set of ten "commandments" that supposedly 
        came right from the home office through the intercession of Moses, one of God's right
        hand men.  Paraphrasing the words of my RSV, they go something like this:

                1.  You shall have no other Gods before me.
                2.  You shall not make any graven images (to worship).
                3.  You shall not take the Lord's name in vain.
                4.  Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
                5.  Honor your father and your mother.
                6.  You shall not kill.
                7.  You shall not commit adultery.
                8.  You shall not steal.
                9.  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
               10.  You shall not covet anything that is your neighbors.

                The God of Israel, as presented in the book of Exodus, was a rather vengeful
        judge who kept track of what everyone was doing and meted our punishment on a 
        regular basis to anyone or any group of people who did not behave themselves.  This
        list of rules was appropriate for people who were very concerned about possible
        retribution for all of their mistakes.  Several years ago, we wrote a little essay called
        "The Ten Suggestions" in which we further amended the original commandments. It is
        self-explanatory, so we thought we would reprint the whole thing here.

                                                  THE TEN SUGGESTIONS

                It has been said that God gave man ten commandments, and man has passed 
        millions of laws trying to enforce them.  Maybe the reason for this is that the ten 
        commandments, as stated in Exodus, are largely negative.  Most of them begin with
        "Thou shalt not".  Nobody likes to be told what he or she cannot do.  Most of us react
        to "you can't do that" with an instinctive "who says I can't?"  What if we were given ten
        practical, positively worded suggestions for conduct that basically said the same thing?
        Would we react any better?

                1.  Remember that, like Pinocchio, you are the product of a Creator.  You are
        asked only to respect "Gepetto's" judgement and authority until you earn the right to
        become a real boy yourself.
                2.  Your allegiance must be only to your Creator.  Substituting other objects of
        adoration, such as wealth, fame, power, romance, intellect, or religion merely delays 
        your progress and contributes to your unhappiness.
                3.  Give your Creator respect in your words and deeds.  You will be rewarded 
        with the greatest treasure of all - peace of mind.
                4.  Allow yourself regular periods of rest and concentration on things spiritual.
        One day a week is a good practical formula, and will result in greater efficiency on
        the other six.
                5.  Parenthood is a physical representation of the amazing creative process.
        Respect this process by treating parenthood with honor.
                6.  Revere life, in all its forms.
                7.  Loyalty to one's spouse for life is incredibly difficult.  Because of this, it demands
        the best qualities of unselfishness we can develop.  It's reward is self-control.
                8.  There's plenty for everyone.  Learn to share.  Taking what you don't earn costs
        you self-respect, and that's too high a price for anything.
                9.  Always tell the truth.  It saves a lot of time, because the truth will make itself
        known sooner or later anyway.
               10.  See number 2.  The grass isn't greener anywhere else.  The only satisfaction 
        there is in having anything comes from the effort you spend to earn it.


                There is one more general truth which we can consider a responsibility, although
        it really is more of a privilege when fully understood.  It is a fact that is already totally
        or partially made use of by many, but so often forgotten or ignored that it should be
        printed and hung on everyone's wall.  At the risk of being considered a Bible-thumper,
        we are going to make one more reference to it here, this time from the New Testament.
                In Acts 20:35, Paul is quoted as saying, "Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, 
        how he said, it is more blessed to give than to receive."  What a shame that the RSV
        and other translations have used the word blessed here.  All of the power and most of
        the sense of this sentence has been lost because of our reaction to that one word.
        We all appreciate the things that we call "blessings", but the vague idea that God will
        give us a pat on the back and a few favors in return for our giving something of our own
        is a watered-down distortion of how it really works.
                Millions of people are out there every day stealing "things" from other people 
        because they just don't get the idea.  It is not just more "blessed" to give, it is more
        EFFECTIVE.  It is more PROFITABLE.  It is more PRODUCTIVE.  It is more CREATIVE.
        It is exactly the same as planting the kind of seed you want to get the fruit you want,
        which can turn one seed into a whole tree.  It is a fundamental principle of the whole
                I don't know what Aramaic word Jesus used if and when he made the statement
        Paul is quoting, but whatever he said, this is what I think he meant:  "Don't waste your 
        time worrying about what you're getting.  Just concentrate on what you are giving, and
        what you get back in return will far exceed your gift."  Jesus was a teacher, and a very
        good one, from all reports.  He was speaking from a deep knowledge of his subject, and
        he was trying to be helpful, not create converts.
                Just imagine how the world might be changed overnight if every parent taught every
        child from day one that the way to get along and be prosperous in this world was to make
        as many contributions of their time and talent as possible, and just watch the miraculous
        results.  This should be right alongside rule No. 1, and it should be pounded on in every
        home and every school until everyone gets it.
                How much time, effort, and resources are wasted globally on "security" concerns
        because so many of us think that the way to get ahead is to take something that 
        belongs to someone else?  Try to picture a world where there are no locks, no fences,
        no guards, no police looking for "perps", and ultimately no armies because they are not
        necessary.  All of the real progress made by civilization to date has been made by those
        who understood the "secret" of giving.  What is this secret?
                It is absolutely and literally guaranteed by natural law that we always get back
        more than we give, and in the same currency - no exceptions!  What could be plainer 
        than that?  Those who do not grasp this concept, and keep giving negative input are
        merely part of the problem, and the fruit of their efforts is ultimately sadness, both for
        themselves and for others.
                Now let us examine some specific examples of how people in different circumstances
        can respond to their challenges by accepting personal responsibility or by trying to 
        avoid it, and see how the system works.

                Interestingly, the books that have the most accurate information about the entry of
        souls into the earth's environment don't talk a great deal about the responsibility of 
        children.  Apparently, the main objective of childhood is to prepare for a productive
        adulthood.  Of course, a lot of the burden for this preparation naturally falls on the parents
        of the child.  Therefore we do not have just one soul growing in experience, we usually 
        have three.  
                It is a cooperative effort even in a much larger sense.  Contrary to accepted belief,
        the "child" does have a lot to say about who his or her parents are.  Each soul comes here
        after considerable discussion with others who are more experienced, and have only his/her
        best interests in mind.  A situation is selected where the parents will provide the optimum
        circumstances in terms of heredity, environment, and often prior commitment, for the 
        soul to work on one or more areas of growth.  
                There is no such thing as a perfect arrangement.  There are always challenges 
        because of the limitations of family and society conditions, and the soul's own tendencies.
        Sometimes the circumstances change so radically after the "birth", that the opportunity
        for growth is negated by the new complications and the soul might withdraw in favor of
        another situation.  This results, from the earth's point of view, in the "death" of the child,
        and is often a traumatic experience for the family.
                How the parents and others deal with their loss can enhance or retard their own 
        growth, and there are many souls who come here for a short time specifically to provide
        that experience for the parents.  The death is not a painful process for the soul/child 
        involved.  It is difficult only for those who do not yet see the grand plan unfolding.
                From the child's point of view, the first few years of life on earth are a huge 
        adjustment from a place with few limitations to the stifling environment of time and 
        space where even walking and talking have to be learned.  There is the need to establish
        cooperation between the animal consciousness of the new body and the eternal 
        consciousness of the soul with it's own long-term agenda - no small task.  There is also
        the need to learn to get along in a society where very few people are consciously aware 
        of the whole process, and consequently are not always helpful.
                Learning to cope with limitations is what childhood is all about.  Some limitations 
        are absolutely necessary for the welfare of the soul and the society.  Others are "artificial",
        and should be changed or eliminated.  We all have to discover the difference.  If parents
        are too tolerant, the new child will be unprepared for the rough edges of society.  If there
        are too many restrictions, the frustration might produce bitterness or rebellion.
                Everyone is learning here at all times, and if the child-rearing process is relatively
        successful, then the soul can become a responsible adult who can make his or her own
        decisions, right or wrong.  The level of individual responsibility for the soul moves up, and
        some meaningful growth can take place.

                We're going to use the term "young adults" to include everyone from approximately
        age 13 to age 30, because the rate of maturation into adulthood varies so widely that it 
        is impossible to say when or if it happens.  Some children are thrust into adult situations
        with adult problems at a very early age, and if they survive, become wise beyond their
        years.  Others get so caught up in childish attitudes for one reason or another that they
        never seem to grow up.  In any case, growing up, to a certain extent, means learning to 
        cope successfully with one's situation in life, and everyone's situation is different, so
        "maturity" becomes a very subjective matter.
                Since the specific responsibilities of a young adult can only be determined by 
        examining each life individually, we are again going to have to attempt to find some
        general rules that apply to all, or at least most.  We can start by remembering again
        that the whole purpose of human life is to learn from the experiences to be had in the
        world of time and space, and that even though it appears that we are individuals, there
        is really only one of us in many forms.
                In a perfect world, every young adult would have two perfect parents who 
        completely understood the situation and always provided wise counseling along with firm
        and loving direction.  This of course is almost never the case, so the adult-in-training has
        to accept some of the responsibility for his or her own growth.
                The truth is, and you can put this in the bank, THE WORLD IS PERFECT.  It is 
        functioning at all times, with no exceptions, exactly the way it is supposed to.  The so-
        called problems that are encountered by young adults, young parents, and everyone else
        come under the heading of growing pains.  Just like the "problems" that are handed out
        in math class at school, their purpose is to teach us how to solve problems.  They are 
        not insurmountable obstacles, they are stepping stones.
                The first necessity for a successful life is the realization at the earliest possible age
        that this is how the world works, and instead of focusing on the difficulties we encounter,
        we need to focus on our reaction to those difficulties.  Only by the slow, day-to-day
        efforts to understand ourselves and the others we contact will we make our current 
        problems dissolve as if by magic so that we can move on to the next ones.  Anyone who
        has survived the difficult transition period from childhood to adult status realizes that all
        their problems didn't disappear, they just morphed into different, sometimes larger ones.
        Our problems do not keep us from living, they are our life.
                When young adults begin concentrating on the solutions to the problems that they
        and others face, they suddenly become mature, for that attitude is maturity.  Many of 
        them do, and for that reason alone, the society of human-kind can, and does at times 
        make real progress.  Young people have a strong tendency to think that they are smarter
        and more capable than the generation that came before them.  There is nothing wrong 
        with this idea.  They simply need to prove it.  It is the ultimate responsibility of every new
        generation to leave the planet and its life in better condition than they found it.  

                The dictionary tell us that the word mature means "fully developed".  If not an
        oxymoron, "fully developed" is at least a misleading expression because personal growth
        never really stops.  There is in most lives, however, a point at which maximum vitality
        is reached, and the process of improvement slowly reverses and becomes entropy.  This
        need only happen on the physical level, and even then with wide variations of experience
        between individuals.
                Mental maturity is another matter, and we will be talking about that at some length
        in chapter 5, so we won't dwell on it here.  We will only remind ourselves that we human
        beings do not have just one body.  We have at least three: a physical body, a mental
        body, and a spiritual body.  It is very unusual for all three of these bodies to mature at
        the same rate in anyone.  Which of our bodies is in the best shape at any point is mostly
        a matter of where we have placed most of our attention.      
                The world, or at least the human society, has other ideas.  In general, the western
        world considers us adults when we have lived here for 21 years.  At that point we are 
        legally and morally responsible for our own choices.  This is an arbitrary decision based on
        society's need for order.  We all know that many people are not very grown up at age 21,
        while others act very responsibly much earlier than that.
                The matter of personal responsibility, of course, is what this book is all about, and
        it is clear that at some point in our lives we all have to be held accountable.  The extent
        to which we properly handle our own responsibilities is probably the best measure of 
        maturity.  Those of us who won't be responsible are almost always in some kind of 
        difficulty, and the extreme cases usually end up being incarcerated in an institution where
        their choices are limited.  The message of society is clear.  Make good choices for yourself,
        or someone else will end up making them for you.
                It's a pretty good system, and it's a microcosm on the physical level of what goes on
        with our "souls" on a larger scale.  In order for the creative force (God, if you prefer) to
        truly experience the creation from every conceivable point of view, these individual points
        (us) have to be allowed to make creative decisions of their own.  This is called "free will",
        and we all have it.  Our choices are only limited by some of the features of the environ-
        ment we have chosen to experience.  If you dive into a swimming pool, you can choose to 
        stay submerged for as long as you want.  Your free will determines whether you come up
        for air when you need to or you stay there and drown.
                The mature person will probably choose to swim to the surface for air so that he or
        she can continue to enjoy the water.  That's what grown up adults do in the real world.
        They make choices that take into consideration the probably consequences of their action.
        Sometimes this might indeed involve physical risk, but that can still be a mature choice if
        it is done for the right reason.
                A "fully developed" adult, whether 21 years old or 70 years old, will never say, "I
        don't care how this affects anyone else, I'm going to do what I want to do"'  What if 
        everyone did this?  As we have said, we are all in this together, and it is quite impossible
        for any of us to do something that does not affect someone else or the world in general.
        Understanding this fact is , by definition, maturity, or "individual responsibility"'.

                By the time a person has reached "senior" status in the eyes of the world, it is 
        logical to assume that he/she has accumulated enough information and experience to
        make mostly correct life choices.  While this is often true, and some cultures give special
        attention to their elderly to tap this valuable resource, it is certainly not a universal
                There are, unfortunately, many who have reached the age of their "declining" years
        without ever accepting the responsibility for their own lives.  If one has lived a long life
        without placing emphasis on the development of all three aspects of their reality
        (physical, mental, and spiritual), then the resulting imbalance in their personality is very
        likely to have caused one or more kind of dependence.
                The person who believes that the only life they have is the physical one bounded by
        birth and death can become preoccupied with prolonging physical life at all costs, and 
        often throws that life on the mercy of medical science.  While highly trained and caring
        medical experts are a great blessing to society, they do not possess magical powers, and
        can only work with the tools they have and the real condition of their patients.
                A patient whose rigid, unbending attitude for an entire lifetime of 60 or 70 years
        has produced physical symptoms such as arthritic joints cannot be "cured" by the 
        external application of any form of drugs or potions.  By the same token, an individual 
        who has spent years in self-indulgence without much effort to be of service to others will
        have a hard time avoiding loneliness in their old age, because the seeds of companionship
        were not planted.
                There is wonderful joy to be had in a long term of years on the earth, and oppor-
        tunities for growth abound right up until the end.  As we have said, even adversities like
        the loss of loved ones or personal illness are powerful growth opportunities if they are
        seen as such.  If life on earth teaches us only one lesson, it should be the obvious one
        that nothing is permanent.  Change is the only reality.  It is up to us to determine the 
        direction of the changes.  Things will get better or worse for all of us depending on our
        expectations and our daily thoughts and intentions.
                The most evident change being faced by senior adults is the one referred to as 
        death.  If one has done his or her homework, then this change will be accepted with 
        dignity and understanding instead of fear and regret.  Old age has a responsibility to 
        set and example for ensuing generations, and leaving this earth with the right attitude is
        one of the best legacies we can bequeath.  Death, of course, is not death at all, but 
        merely the passing on to another of the endless wonderful rooms of this mansion called
        creation.  We will all get there, so it would be wiser to forget about it and concentrate on
        what we are doing right or wrong while we're here.
                This, then, is the ultimate responsibility of every human being, no matter what age.
        To live each day in such a way that we, and everyone around us, grows a little closer to
        the one-ness we share, and that we leave the world in better shape than we found it.
        What if everybody did?     


.                                                                   CHAPTER FIVE

                                                          MENTAL RESPONSIBILITY 

                                   "You cannot understand perceived events unless
                                               you understand who perceives them."
                                                                                                         ...  Seth
                                                                                            "The Unknown Reality"

                    What if there was a large community of people living in a physical environment
            that was usually pleasant, but sometimes very hostile, and they had no shelters?
            Let us further suppose that in this group there were those who had the ability, 
            like architects, to design appropriate houses or buildings to provide the needed
            shelter, but no-one who would or could build them?
                Would our theoretical community be improved if the architects' designs were 
            never built, or if they were built, it was done so poorly that the buildings collapsed
            with the first bad conditions?  In this situation, it is fairly obvious that just designing
            shelter isn't enough.  Someone has to build it and do it correctly so that it actually
            works.  Without proper construction work, the community could all perish in a 
            severe storm.  
                What is the real point?  On an individual basis, your eternal soul-entity is the 
            architect, and your physical self is the community at risk.  That leaves your mind to
            do the necessary building, and that is exactly what it does.  But here's the catch.
            Unless your mind, the builder, follows the architect's plan with care, the physical 
            life that is created is apt to be an unstable mess.  It is absolutely critical for each
            of us to find and refer to the blueprint for our life on a regular basis.  Since the 
            whole society is nothing more than a collection of individual entities, our world 
            becomes a reflection of how well we do that.  
                If that is not a responsibility, what is?  Looking at the world around us, we see
            a vast assortment of mini-societies, some of which are functioning fairly well, but
            others that truly are involved in mass confusion.  What is the reason for this?
            There are too many individuals who are ignoring basic construction principles and
            and building, with their minds, lives that will not work.
                Let's talk about those basic principles one more time.  Just what is the soul's
            blueprint, and how do we read it?  Make no mistake about this.  There is a plan for
            every life, no matter how haphazard it may seem from this angle.  Your soul didn't
            just drop in here on a whim.  It came here for a reason, and it is up to your mind,
            the builder, to discover the plan and implement it to the best of your ability.

                Principle #1  There is only One of us.

                There is nothing that you or I can ever do or think that does not have an 
            immediate effect on everyone and everything around us.  Every thought counts.
            If we begin to think that we are separate from the rest of society and that we can
            go on our own way without being concerned about others, the whole system 
            begins to break apart.  If many of us think that, it is a given that confusion will 

                Principle #2  The physical result is a result, not a cause.

                Just as a house is the end product of architectural design and the builder's 
            effort, our lives' circumstances are the result of our mind's proper or improper
            construction work.  Positive, constructive thinking creates positive results and
            contentment.  Negative thoughts create the opposite.  It is a beautiful system
            that works perfectly.  We can create our own happiness just by learning to 
            control our thoughts.  In the process, we learn patience because of the time 
            lag between the thought and the physical result.          

                Principle #3  The power of your mind is un-limited.

                Mental energy is, in a very real sense, electrical in nature.  Just as uncontrolled
            electrical power can be tremendously destructive at times, so can the combined
            force of many mis-directed minds.  Each of us has an individual consciousness to 
            work with and a will to control it, but we are also closely connected to  the vast 
            network of consciousness that is humanity.
                If our individual minds make constant changes in our own physical world, just
            imagine the combined effect of thousands or even millions of minds working in
            concert, whether for good or ill.  It is not commonly known yet be empirical 
            science, which tends to ignore mental force, but even our weather patterns are
            are severely affected by our collective consciousness.  A period of conflicted 
            chaotic thinking that causes social upheaval cannot fail to also generate corres-
            ponding disturbances in the very atmosphere that surrounds us.  We think we are
            the victims of nature's power, but we are often the cause of violent storms, 
            earthquakes, etc. with the power of our out-of-control collective thinking.  
                Our beloved scientific community has barely scratched the surface when it 
            comes to an understanding of our mental processes.  There has been, of course,
            even in our limited history of man's progress, a lot of interested study of the 
            human mind, but we are talking about a limit-less subject here.  We are never
            going to understand it completely, because there is no such thing as completeness.
            A lot of our lack of understanding could be corrected if we were not so short-    
            sighted at times.  Many believe, for instance, that the "progress" of our physical 
            and mental environment has been one continuous upward climb dating back to 
            the beginning of our evolution from a higher animal form.  The truth is 
            unbelievably more complex than that.  
                There has been a climb, all right.  As a matter of fact, there have been many
            of them, with alternating waves of progress and regression.  There have been 
            civilizations similar to ours on this planet as recently as 12,000 years ago that had
            a better grasp of how our minds work than we do now.  It is a tribute to the power
            of the mind that they did such a good job of obliterating their societies that we
            can hardly find traces of them.  We are again trying to build a new and better 
            world where we can live in peace and prosperity, but in the process we have also
            produced our own means of self-destruction.  We learn very slowly, but we will 
                Mankind's progress or regression, however, always depends on the collective
            effort or the growth (or lack of) of each individual soul that takes up temporary 
            residence here.  This is where our individual responsibility comes in.  It works 
            like this:        

                 Your soul or mine, which we will call an "entity", decides, with the cooperation 
            of others, to come to this planet for a sojourn of a "lifetime" because there are 
            lessons that can be learned in a time and space environment that cannot be learned
            anywhere else.  A plan is made for the entity to work on one or more areas of 
            soul development and/or to help someone else do the same.  Some appropriate
            parents are selected, and the soul gets "born".  Within a short time, the soul's 
            memory is obscured so that the new body/mind can concentrate on the job at 
            hand without the distraction of too much history. 
                The body that is inhabited is a new creation with its own limitations and its own
            physical consciousness.  Gradually in the early years a working agreement evolves
            between the soul, which operates outside of time, and the new animal form, which
            is confined to a limited number of earth years.  This agreement results in a new
            temporary imagined consciousness which we call a "personality" or "ego".  it is a 
            hybrid that is neither soul nor animal, but a combination of both, and it has its own
            level of consciousness which we call a "mind".
                This mind, like all of creation, contains unlimited potential because of its con-
            nection to the universal mind or force that created it.  It also has the freedom to
            decide whether it will be more in tune with the soul's plan or aligned with the 
            objectives of the primate form it inhabits.  The primate instincts are survival, 
            reproduction, and social inter-action, and they are quite powerful, as we know.
                The new mind, with its freedom and potential, is sometimes overwhelmed by its
            own importance, and if not kept aware of its soul connection, can ride of in some
            very startling directions.  The same creative attitude that produces new and better
            methods of agriculture can also produce new and more destructive means of 
            warfare, and convince itself that they are equally important.  Our so-called  rational
            minds can rationalize anything to the point where it becomes acceptable.
                The out-of-control mind of a serial killer is functioning just like the mind of a 
            scientific pioneer.  Both are devising and creating ideas as fast as they can, often 
            without any regard for the ultimate consequences.  Much direction come from the
            soul, which sees the mind's creations from a time-less perspective, and is totally 
            aware of possible "future" results of our choices.  
                If our minds do not constantly refer to this built-in moral compass, we become 
            like wild horses stampeding in whatever direction appeals to us at the moment.
            Little real progress is made if we build huge societies that are so misguided that 
            they self-destruct from the weight of their own folly, but such has been the history
            of mankind.  
                So what is happening?  This is the bottom line.  The experience of mankind is 
            not about building societies at all.  It's about providing growth opportunities for 
            individual eternal entities - each a part of the one creative force.  Society is nothing
            more than the day-by-day, person-t-person choices that are made by individual 
                Regardless of the choices, there is learning going on.  We determine only the 
            nature of the lessons, and some are much more painful than others.  A properly 
            prepared meal, made lovingly from healthy foods, produces a feeling of contentment.
            Over-indulging in the wrong kind of food will usually result in a severe stomach-
            ache.  Either way, there is an opportunity for the mind to see the effect of its choice,
            and eventually most minds will begin to make better and better decisions to avoid
            painful results.  
                The same process takes place on a much larger scale, where nations have the 
            option of peaceful cooperation towards mutual goals, or out-and-out war to settle
            their differences.  The fact that we so often choose war with its awful consequences
            proves that we cannot trust our minds to always make the best decisions.  It's 
            apparent that the mind is not much concerned with the body's comfort.  It has it's
            own agenda, and needs to be trained like the wild horse we have already mentioned.
​                 How can we train these amazing minds we have been given?  Let's start by using
            them to analyze themselves.  The first thing we have to realize is that your mind is
            not you, any more than the hammer is the blacksmith.  It is a tool of limitless power,
            and just like the blacksmith's hammer, it can create useful horseshoes or immense
            destruction, depending on where it is aimed.  
                It's very easy to fall into the trap where we believe that we are our minds.  The 
            external world tends to lead us to that conclusion, and our egos are determined to 
            convince us that they are all-important.  But just who is doing all of this thinking?
            Where are the "thoughts" coming from?  Take this simple test.  Close your eyes
            and put your fingers in your ears, thus more or less shutting down two of your most
            important senses, sight and hearing.  You still have three others, but if you are doing
            this in a relatively private spot and remain still, you can almost ignore them.  Are 
            you still there?  Of course you are, but who is there?  Now try one more thing.  The
            next thought you have, just observe it like it was a passing cloud in the sky, and 
            you are watching it.  It will soon be replaced by another thought, but that's just 
            another cloud.  
                If you keep doing this, you will suddenly realize that those thoughts are not you
            at all, and that the real you is just observing them.  If you have never done this 
            before, it can be a shocking revelation.  Those who engage in this process artivicially
            with the use of drugs are literally playing with fire.  The mind does not want to be 
            found out, and will resort to all kinds of mixed-up rationalizations  to preserve its
            importance.  We call it "scrambling one's brain".
                The truth is that beneath this mental layer of  energy that we identify with, there 
            is a real individual whose name is "I AM", and he/she is connected to all the other 
            I AM's in the universe.  You can't get rid of this I AM.  That's who you are.  So am I.
            So is everyone else.  Most of them just don't know it, that's all, because they have 
            been mis-led by their own ego-mind.  
                Once you learn this, you will never again be the victim of your own endless poor
            decisions, because you will begin to see your life and the world from a completely
            new perspective.  You will begin to use the power of the hammer that is your mind
            for more constructive purposes.  You will probably become physically healthier
            because you will stop listening to your mind's negative input.  One day you will wake
            up and realize that you are actually happier than you were before because you feel
            like you are on the right track.  
                This is mental responsibility, because if you are going in the right direction, and
            so am I, and so are many others, then so is the world.

                                                                        CHAPTER SIX

                                                          SPIRITUAL RESPONSIBILITY

                                                         "This is the key. If you don't give attention to  
                                               the source of love within you -  the Spirit within - it is 
                                               as if it didn't exist, because it makes no demands on you.
                                              Yet it is the greatest power in the universe in infinite supply 
                                               within you, waiting for you to release it and let it flow."

                                                                                                       ...  Bruce McArthur  

                  The word "spirit" is a real turn-off for many people, because it has had so
        many strange interpretations throughout the centuries.  A so-called "spiritual"
        life has been seen to be somehow less relevant to, and out of touch with, the
        "real" world.  Talk of spirituality make so many people uncomfortable that we
        usually tend to avoid it in our everyday conversation.
              That is not true of everyone, of course.  There are those who are very 
        interested in the subject we call "religion", often to extreme lengths.  For 
        most, however, certain days of the week or year are set aside for paying
        attention to a greater or lesser degree to their spiritual side, and they are 
        satisfied with that arrangement.
                If there is a problem with this, it may be that we tend to confuse the
        terms religion and spirituality with each other.  If you ask someone what their
        religion is, you are apt to get in reply the name of one of the world's great 
        "religious" groups - whichever one the person feels comfortable with at that
        point in time.  If you ask them if they are a spiritual person, you might get
        anything from a blank stare to a long dissertation on the merits of their 
                There are also many people who consider themselves to be spiritual, 
        but who are not particularly impressed with any of the world's organized 
        religions.  We are faced with an interesting question.  Which of these organized
        groups, if any, are right, and which of these people are acting responsibly 
        with respect to the spirit in all of us?  We believe that the answer to this 
        question is to be found in the title of this book, which contains two words:
        individual, and responsibility.
                Up to now, we have been stressing the importance of the second word,   
           responsibility, but have not placed our emphasis on the individual part.  The
        plain truth is that there are as many religions as there are individuals on the
        planet, and we all have one, whether we talk about it or not.  RE-LIGION 
        literally means the re-uniting of something that has come apart, and we are
        all involved in that process every day, even if we are sometimes going about 
        it the wrong way.
​               We are all familiar with the quotation, "all roads lead to Rome".  We might
        paraphrase that quote by saying, "all paths lead to heaven", and despite our
        preoccupation with concepts like Satan, or Evil, etc., this is true.  We are all 
        on our way back to the "Garden of Eden".  Unfortunately, many have chosen
        extremely long and rocky paths.  The problems and suffering we create with
        our freedom of choice can be seemingly endless and exceedingly difficult and/
        or painful.  
                Some people, in the midst of their struggles, even blame their God, or
        Gods, for the pain.  That doesn't help much.  It merely postpones the solution
        to the problem.  Suppose a kind mother sent her son outside to play one day
        with the admonition, "have fun, but be careful, and don't get hurt".  The boy
        proceeds to climb a tree, fall out of it, and break his arm.  Whose fault is that?
        Should we blame the parent for not keeping the child in a cage?  
                It's a distressful situation, to be sure, but what is the bottom line?  The
        boy is given medical attention, the arm heals, and he has learned a valuable
        lesson.  "Be more careful when climbing trees", for instance, or "maybe he 
        should pay more attention to what his parents tell him".  That's basically how
        the system works.  It's all about experiencing this world without hurting our-
        selves or someone else in the process.  There's nothing spiritual about it, or
        is there?
                What is spirit, anyway?  Remember that way back in chapter 2 we said 
        that "Rule #3 was: everything is energy"?  Well, if that's true, then spirit must
        be made of the same stuff.  In school, we learned that there are two kinds of
        energy.  There is potential energy that is static and inactive, and then there is
        kinetic energy, which is moving, acting, and creating some kind of result or
                Isn't this a perfect replica of the un-manifest and manifest God forces
        that serious divinity students of all faiths have always talked about?   The
        un-manifest Creator is potential, and the manifest is kinetic.  It is energy
        without any limits.  We put a face or a personality on this force and call it
        God, or Allah, or some other name.  We give a purpose to the transformation
        from potential to kinetic creation, and call it Love.  
                Our wonderfully active minds might try to convince us that all this is
        merely academic, and that concepts like God and Love are not real, but we 
        have already seen that our minds cannot be trusted.  You have a personality,
        don't you?  Well, then, your Creator must have one, too.  You are capable of
        emotions like love, aren't you?  Well, then, your Creator must be, also.  Why
        would we think otherwise?
                So let us set up a hypothetical creation where the Creator is a personality
        with limitless potential, and who is motivated by a powerful force (which we 
        will call "love") to see what it can create.  Maybe we can make some sense out
        of our little story of the boy falling out of the tree.  Remember that before our
        Creator decides to create, its energy is just potential.  Nothing has happened 
        yet.  The minute something happens, we now have another (kinetic) kind of
        energy which we will call "mind".
                Our all-powerful mind begins to imagine what it can create, and all 
        heaven breaks loose (sorry about that).  Universes, galaxies, suns, planets,
        etc., etc.  You name it, what can you imagine?  This is interesting, though.
        Once we have imagined something into existence, we also have a third kind
        of energy to deal with.  We'll call it "matter".  
                 Let's back up and see what we have so far.  We have the creative 
        potential force, which we will call SPIRIT.  We have the moving, imagining
        kinetic energy we will call MIND, and we have the result, which is MATTER.
        Spirit, mind, and matter (or body), but wait a minute.  Which one came first?
                In the creation we have just set up, it's obvious that the energy we are
        calling SPIRIT is the most necessary, because everything starts there, and 
        the other forms of energy are not causes, they are results.  But the results
        are part of the cause, and they give it form and substance, so it is probably
        safe to say that the creative force is really triple in nature.  Where have we
        heard that before?  Almost every one of the world's recognized religions has
        some sort of trinity for a God.    
                To me, that means that we are probably on the right track here, and it
        also means that since we are part of this creation, then we are also replicas
        of this trinity.  It seems that, as we have said before, each of us is a three-
        part copy of the force that created us, and we let our minds ignore this fact
        at our own peril.   Furthermore, since SPIRIT is the moving force behind our
        situation, we'd better make sure we don't forget about it in our big rush to
        be successful human beings. 
                It's not so much a matter of the relative importance  of each of the 
        three parts.  Without a creation, there is no such thing as a Creator, so they
        are all important.  In a three-note musical chord, which note is most valuable?
        Take any one of them away, and the music changes dramatically.  Our 
        spirits, minds, and bodies work the same way.  Whatever affects one of them
        also affects the other two, but the energy level we are calling SPIRIT is 
        literally the stuff we are made of.  It's the raw material of our lives. 
                Whether you or I have a successful life is really based on what we make
        out of the raw material we have.  We use our minds to build with, and our 
        life is the result.  The whole of creation is very much like a great symphony,
        and each of us has his/her own instrument to play and his/her own part of 
        the arrangement.  If we all study and practice our own parts, then the music
        is harmonious and pleasing.  When we don't, we just make noise.
​               Here is the really troubling question for many of us.  If our spirit, or 
        creative force, is so important, why is it so hard to see?  Wouldn't it be much
        simpler if we had a God whose presence was obvious, and whose plan for each
        of us was spelled out in big letters so we couldn't miss it?  Wouldn't it be more
        fun if we could just sit down and play this symphony without having to practice
                The first answer that comes to mind for these questions is this.  All of us
        know that the greatest satisfactions in our lives come from the achievements
        into which we have put the most effort.  We very quickly tire of anything that
        is too easy for us.  The universe we have been given to experience is infinitely
        complex and and mysterious in nature for the very reason that it's more fun
        if we can never figure it all out.  If we already knew all the answers, what 
        would we have to strive for?  A treasure hunt is only enjoyable if you don't 
        know where the treasure is hidden.
                A second answer comes from the prolific mind of a man named Ken
        Wilber, one of our better current philosophical writers.  Mr. Wilber says that
        we can't see all of our creation because we tend to use only one pair of eyes,
        when we actually have three pairs.  Our physical eyes are only capable of 
        discerning physical truth, and even that is sometimes an optical illusion. 
        Since we can't solve mathematical problems, for instance, just by looking at
        them, we also need mental eyes to work with for this purpose.  
                Quite often it actually helps to close our physical eyes when we are trying
        to "see" the answer to a mental problem.  Seeing the physical world is impor-
        tant, but as any capable "blind" person can tell you, it is not essential for
        survival.  If one is trying to concentrate on mental or spiritual matters, 
        looking around at the physical world at the same time can be a distraction.
                In the same way, attempting to  understand the creative force, God,
        spirit, or whatever else we call it, is virtually impossible with a human 
        conscious mind.  Our mental pair of eyes is not equipped for the job, either.
        The only way to really get a glimpse of spiritual "truth" is to close our mental
        eyes, which usually takes some practice, because we are not used to doing it.
                That's why there are so many differences of opinion about spiritual truth.
        Every time we try to describe spirit in words, which are mental tools, we 
        automatically create some sort of distortion because of our own mental filters.
        Interestingly, anyone who has succeeded in quieting their mind enough to see
        spiritual reality will nearly always try to describe what just like anyone else
        who has done it.  They all see the same "vision".  They just have trouble 
        putting it into words, because it is beyond words.
                Incidentally, let's not forget that it works the other way, too.  We cannot
        instantly solve our math problems with prayer, either.  Even though there is 
        definite interaction between the differing energy levels, it's most efficient if we
        use the pair of eyes that suits the problem.  It would not be wise to drive a 
        car with our physical eyes closed.
                If we have said this before, we apologize for the repetition, but it is so
        critical to our understanding, that it bears repeating.  Our conscious minds, 
        while they are constructing our lives, are always walking a tightrope between
        the long-term interests of the soul and the short-term concerns of our 
        primate form.  The only way we can successfully navigate a course through
        our visit here on Earth is to give equal attention in both directions.  
                This comes more under the heading of mental responsibility, but so many
        of us are focused too strongly on our physical or animal needs that the soul's
        purpose, which is the spirit part, is badly neglected.  It is possible to complete
        an entire lifetime and make absolutely no spiritual progress at all, or even to 
        regress.  The soul-entity comes here with a plan and a purpose, and it is up to
        us to pay enough attention to discover what that purpose is.  That is our 
        spiritual responsibility, and it is the true mark of a successful life.
                If we participate in an organized "religion", then we must be sure that 
        our participation is actually helping this process, and not leading us down the
        wrong path.  Too many people get caught up in the dogmatic beliefs of their
        particular group and lose sight of the real objective, which is the re-union of
        their own entity with their Creator. 
                Even worse, some organized so-called religions of the world are often
        engaged in a campaign designed to convince or even force everyone else to
        join their group.  This need to change everyone else and not ourselves has 
        often resulted in open warfare, with many people being murdered or 
        incarcerated in the name of religion.  Nothing could be farther from the 
        Creator's plan.  It is definitely not the responsibility of each soul to try to 
        force other souls to walk the same path.  
                If one has truly caught a glimpse of the light of truth, then it is sufficient
        to make sure that the light is on in one's own life so that others can see it.
        Fortunately, there are also many religious groups who make genuine service
        to others their work, and without them mankind might slip backward again 
        into the "dark ages".
                 This chapter needs a summary, so let us try to present one.  What is 
        your spiritual responsibility, and mine?  To begin with, we must be aware
        that, much like children of a parent who places his sons in positions of 
        authority in the family business, we have each been given the power of our
        "Father".  This power has no limits, and with it we can create heaven on 
        earth, or mass destruction.  The choice is up to each of us, because the 
        Father's joy comes from seeing his "sons" succeed on their own and become
        true creative partners.  He can wait forever for us to get around to it, because
        time is not a factor.
                The other thing we must remember is that each of us is on his or her
        own pilgrim journey.  We can certainly help each other, but the ultimate 
        responsibility for our life is solely our own.  We are all equal in the Creator's
        eyes, and all will be given the same lessons and gifts.  Our soul-entities are
        eternal, like their Creator, and unlike our temporary physical form.  We can
        take as long as we like, and make our journey as difficult or as pleasant as
        we want, but we must eventually return to the "garden".               


                                                                                                            Jan 2016


                BOOK BY Ben Bolt                      "INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY"
                                                                      A Primer for a Successful Life

        *  CHAPTER ONE   .......................   WHO ARE YOU?
        *  CHAPTER TWO   ......................   THREE SIMPLE RULES
        *  CHAPTER THREE   ...................   INFINITY
        *  CHAPTER FOUR   .....................   PHYSICAL RESPONSIBILITY
        *  CHAPTER FIVE   .......................   MENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
        *  CHAPTER SIX   .........................   SPIRITUAL RESPONSIBILITY
        "  CHAPTER SEVEN   ...................   GOOD AND EVIL
        *  CHAPTER EIGHT   .....................   RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT
        *  CHAPTER NINE   .......................   REDECORATING THE JAIL CELL
        *  CHAPTER TEN   ........................   CHRISTIANITY

         Chapters Eleven and Twelve (and the Summary) are still on the "Archives" page.
                                     Sorry about that - we're trying to get it fixed.

                                                              CHAPTER SEVEN

                                                                 GOOD AND EVIL  

                                         "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously
                                   committing evil deeds, and it were only necessary to 
                                   separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But
                                   the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of 
                                   every human being, and who is willing to destroy a piece
                                   of his own heart?"
                                                                               ... Alexander Solzhenitsyn
                                                                              from  "The Gulag Archipelago"   

                    I just finished reading two lengthy newspaper articles about the role of God in 
        a recent natural disaster that has killed upwards of 150,000 people and completely 
        disrupted the lives of millions more.  There are numerous quotes in these articles
        from scholarly religious thinkers, and multiple viewpoints on the subject.  Everyone
        seems to have their own opinion about why a supposedly loving God would allow or
        even cause such things to happen to "innocent people".
                Some say that God is punishing "sinners".  Some say that God has nothing to do
        with this sort of thing.  Some say that there isn't any God, and that disasters are proof
        that creation is random and chaotic, etc., etc.
                I didn't see much evidence in either article that the author or any of his sources of
        information knew what they were talking about, in spite of their status as scholars.  The
        prevailing conclusion to most of their reasoning was that there was no way we could 
        hope to understand God's mysterious ways, so we might as well not even try.  We 
        should just help each other muddle through and hope for the best.
                In a way, that's not a bad course of action, because helping each other is what 
        we're always supposed to be doing, and taking one day's troubles at a time is the only
        way to grow.  But I have never been satisfied with a plan for an entire life, or even a 
        small project, that was based on ignorance or guesswork.  I am convinced that the 
        assumption that we cannot know why we are here, or why evil exists, or why this, or
        why that, is a serious fundamental error.  
                We have already seen that our minds, and consequently our beliefs, are what 
        create our lives, so assuming that we cannot know something or do something pretty
        much guarantees that that we never will.  It is our determination not to know that 
        keeps us ignorant.  Most of the references in the above-mentioned newspaper articles
        were from people connected with one of the world's organized religious groups.  
        Organized religion, especially Christianity, encourages the idea that we cannot know
        God's plan.  It keeps us dependent on the organization or a "Savior" to get us through.
                It is a false premise.  The idea that we cannot know "God's plan" for the world is 
        simply not true.  The whole purpose of our life is to figure that out, and we certainly can.
        What we cannot, and do not yet need to understand, is the complete truth behind all
        creation, for the simple reason that it is both infinite and ever-changing, and our 
        conscious minds are not equipped to handle that much data.
                However, just because we don't completely understand nuclear physics doesn't 
        mean that we can't figure out what's going on in kindergarten, and compared to all 
        creation, this world is just a kindergarten.  It is our job to figure it out.  Telling each 
        other  we can't is a cop-out, and prevents a lot of people from even trying.
                When I was a child, my mother used to do embroidery work, using metal 
        "embroidery hoops" to hold the fabric taut while she sewed pictures on it with colored
        thread.  It was quite fascinating to watch the picture develop as she progressed, but I
        noticed that if I looked at the bottom side of the fabric instead of the top, it was im-
        possible to tell what the picture was.  The reverse of the pattern just looked random
        and disorganized.  Only when I looked at the work from my mother's viewpoint did the
        project make sense.
                That's man's problem in a nutshell.  Our perspective is wrong.  We insist on looking
        at this world from the bottom-side viewpoint of our limited conscious minds instead of 
        the top-side plan of the Creator, and it appears random.  It is not.  The entire uni-verse
        (literally "one song") is completely orderly and purposeful.  The only reason that it seems
        un-regulated is because we ourselves are part of the creative process, and we have been
        given the freedom to make use of it at will.
                We don't always make good choices, so the mathematical structure of the system
        tends to pull us up short once in a while so we can find the right pattern again.  This 
        brings up the other critical misconception that causes mass confusion among "scholars".
        It's called "dualism", and it permeates all the philosophical ramblings of Christianity.  
                We have two big stumbling blocks in our thinking that we must overcome.  The
        first is, as we have been discussing, the assumption that we cannot know what the plan
        is, and the second is the notion that we are separate from the Creator.  The idea that \
        "God" is out there somewhere either ignoring us completely or making decisions about
        our fate based on our behavior is utterly ridiculous.  It is based on the primitive picture
        that we are children, and we need a father to keep us company when we're good and
        punish us when we're not.
                Let's get that straight right now.  God (which is merely an older spelling of the 
        word good) is not "out there" somewhere watching us.  He/she is us. The Creator is the
        creation.  There is nothing that is not God (or good).  "He" is not outside of natural laws,
        He is natural law. He is all of nature.  The laws of nature are merely the arrangement 
        that the symphony orchestra of creation is playing.  We cannot be separated from the
        Creator because that's who we are.  If we do not see this and think that we are separate,
        it is just because we are looking in the wrong direction.
                The newspaper articles we referred to at the beginning of this chapter were both
        printed on the same page under the heading, "Where Was God"?, and the writers
        attempted to propose different answers to the question.  The answer is: The same place
        God always is - everywhere.  Where does the sun go at night-time? Nowhere.  We can't
        always see it because the earth turns away and it's temporarily dark, but the sun is 
        right where it always is.  So is the creative force, whatever you want to call it.
                The sun is perhaps the best symbol of the Creator we have, because it is our source
        of physical life.  If we turn our backs to it, what do we see?  We see shadows, which of
        course are caused by the sun.  On an overcast day we see clouds, which are also a 
        product of the sun's rays combined with the energy form we call water.  To make it 
        simple, from now on in this book we are going to call God by his right name to help clear
        up the confusion.  God's name is "ALL THAT IS", and we can even abbreviate it for
        convenience to A.T.I. 
                A.T.I. is just what it says it is.  There isn't anything else. That means that when
        A.T.I. says it is "I AM", it is telling the truth.  I AM is just another aspect of A.T.I. 
        The fact that you and I have what we call a "personality" is merely an expression of the
        I AM in infinite forms.  All we really need to do to realize that we are a part of A.T.I. 
        is to start acting like it.  The realization will follow.
                We have said that A.T.I. is good, and the subject of this chapter is "good and evil"<
        so let's get to the subject.  The natural disaster we talked about is generally referred to 
        as "evil" because it resulted in the destruction of lives and property.  We are going to 
        make it as clear as we can that there is no such thing as evil.  EVIL spelled backward is
        LIVE.  If A.T.I. is good, then what appears to be evil is just another characteristic of good. 
                That's what there is.  There is the appearance of evil, in the same way that there
        is an appearance of a shadow when we look away from the sun, or the appearance of
        chaos when we look at the bottom of an embroidered picture.  We are not seeing evil,
        we are seeing the darkness which is the opposite of light, or the cold which is the 
        opposite of warmth, or the fear which is the opposite of love.
                The movement of all this manifested (kinetic) energy is based on polarity.  
        Everyone knows that we cannot get an electric current to flow unless we have a 
        positive terminal and a negative one.  Is the negative pose less important or desirable
        than the positive one?  Certainly not.  Both are essential for the energy of creation to 
        exist, and both, then, are good.
                We cannot have light without darkness, and we cannot have heat without cold.
        We cannot have a top without a bottom, and so on and so on.  It is the eternal inter-
        action of opposites that is our so-called physical universe.  But are they really opposites?
        Actually, no.  Darkness is merely the absence of light, and cold is the absence of heat,
        so darkness and cold do not have any reality of their own.  Fear is nothing more than
        the absence of love on the emotional level instead of the physical, so our fears are 
        imaginary, too.  
                The logical conclusion to this is that what we are calling evil is only the absence of
        good that allows good to be expressed and recognized.  It does not exist by itself either.
        It is a vacuum, and we all know how nature feels about a vacuum.  It is unsustainable.
        All right then, what are we to think about natural disasters?  What do we do about 
        suffering and death, whether naturally caused or man-made?  What about the "apparent"
        evil in the world, and the personification of evil that the Christians call Satan?  These 
        things are there. They are part of our world, and we have to deal with them, don't we?
                The first thing we have to do, and it is the most important, because if we don't do
        it we will never be satisfied, is to change our perspective.  We have to get our from 
        under the embroidery that A.T.I. is creating and see it from the top - the viewpoint of 
        the creator.  If we don't do this, it will never make any sense.  It is very easy for us to
        be caught up so completely in our immediate problems that we lose our perspective and
        begin to see only the half-empty part of our lives.  We all do it.
                When it comes to large scale disasters like earthquakes, floods, famines, wars,
        etc., we almost panic because the suffering is so physically and emotionally devastating.
        What is A.T.I. doing here?  Well, let's go back to an earlier chapter and remind ourselves
        that we're dealing with infinity.  If 150,000 people lose their physical lives all at once, 
        how does that number compare with the available number of souls, which is infinite?
        One of the newspaper articles we have been discussing includes this fact:  "If the final
        death toll of the recent Asian tsunami reaches 120,000, it would rank no higher than
        39th on the list of the most deadly natural disasters (counting epidemics and famines)
        of the 20th century.
                How does that change our perspective?  The incident in question is only one of an
        ongoing sequence of events that is the story of mankind.  What's more, it is only 
        devastating to those individuals immediately involved who are depending mainly on
        physical survival for their sense of self.  Let's talk about death from our higher 
        perspective for a moment.  Who really died here?  If you are having a conversation with
        someone and that person suddenly gets up and goes into the next room so that you
        cannot talk to them, are they dead?
                That's really all that happens in the process we call death.  The physical form, 
        made from the earth's material, is no longer being occupied by the timeless entity that
        was using it.  The entity takes the positive lessons learned, along with memories of the
        earth experience, and goes into the next room.  The only thing lost is the line of 
        communication, and that loss is temporary.  It is a tragedy only for those who do not, 
        can not, or will not see the big picture.  We will all learn to see it, or we will continue to
        beat our heads against the wall and suffer.  
                No-one is at fault here, and no evil is being perpetrated.  The orderly process of 
        creation is being carried out as planned.  In the world of computers, there is an acronym
        called W.A.D.  It stands for "Working as Designed", which is the case when a computer
        user is having trouble with a program that is doing exactly what it is supposed to do.
        Getting angry with A.T.I. about our frustration is just about as effective as punching a
        computer that is W.A.D.  The problem is not in the software - it is a user error.
                Yes but, you say, there are evil people in this world.  There are those who are under
        the influence of the "Prince of Darkness" and spread misery and pain in their wake.  
        Right, but just like there is no darkness, there is no Prince of Darkness, either, unless we
        want to create one with our minds.  There is a famous quote that says, "the Devil is the
        cornerstone of the Catholic church".  That's not fair.  We should not blame the catholics
        for a problem that is almost universal, but the point is well taken.  It is far easier to blame
        some nebulous "devil" for our problems than to admit that it is really us who are at fault.
                There are several things wrong with the assumption that some or all humans are
        inherently evil, or "sinful", as some like to call it.  If we state on the one hand that we are
        "made in the image of God", and at the same time insist that man is basically evil, then 
        we must logically conclude that God must be evil, too.  Since the word "God" is now 
        spelled "good", then that conclusion is impossible.  Man is not evil.  We are often mis-
        guided, to be sure, and some of our errors are tragic, but they are not of evil intent.
        The most reprehensible acts are invariably committed by someone who thinks at the 
        time that they are doing exactly what they have to do.  It's all about learning, and some
        lessons are much harder that others.
                Secondly, this is a fact.  A so-called "evil" person cannot hurt you in any way unless
        you allow it with your own negative expectations.  The boundless paranoia created by 
        the victim mentality of human minds that are out of control is not just part of the problem,
        it is the problem.  Your life, my life, and everyone else's life is largely a series of realized
        expectations.  If no-one ever considered the possibility that something bad would happen
        to them, nothing bad would ever happen, and the vacuum that we call evil would just
        disappear by being filled with good.  
                Is that going to happen soon?  Probably not.  We still have a long way to go on our
        path.  Many soul-entities come here specifically to work on unproductive habits of long
        standing and they, as well as we, will all learn patience as the process plays itself out.
        A better understanding of how things work will definitely help, though, and that's what
        this book is all about.  
                So what is the bottom line?  How do we make the day-to-day decisions that help
        us deal with the world as it is?  if there really is no such thing as an evil force that is out
        to get us, there certainly is the appearance of evil and the distress that goes with it.  
        There is a real sense of loss when someone who is dear to us goes on into another world
        where we cannot directly converse with them.  What's the best way to deal with that?
        Even if we are healthy and well-fed, and many of us are not, we still experience the 
        stress of daily living.  We still have mental and emotional (or spiritual) pain even if we
        are not hurting physically.  Earth is a tough school.  How will we ever graduate?
                In the next two chapters, we are going to get down to the nitty-gritty of our 
        responsibilities and try to answer some of these questions on a very practical level. We
        need to do that, but here is one more general thought that we should probably keep in
        mind while we are thinking of schools.  We were all taught early on in our science 
        classes that one of the most important laws of physics is:  "for every action, there is an
        equal and opposite reaction".  It's a fact of life, and can be proven by experimentation.
                Since we know that our lives exist on at least three levels (physical, mental, and
        spiritual), is it not logical to assume that the same law applies on all three levels? Why
        wouldn't it?  If the scientific world would put their minds to it, I'll bet we could "prove"
        that every time one of us has a negative thought, there is an equal an opposite reaction
        to it in the mental world we are creating.  Of course, this would also be true of positive,
        helpful thoughts.  More on this later.
                On the spiritual level, imagining and picturing an endlessly patient and loving 
        Creator instead of a vengeful one or an evil "Satan" would certainly lower our stress
        level, and the opposite reaction could begin to heal the bitterness and heartache we 
        have been creating.  Let's face it - the dual nature of this world guarantees that along
        with the troubles we see, there is an incredible amount of joy and beauty to be found
        everywhere if we get in the habit of looking for it.  It's our responsibility and our 
        privilege to do so. 


                                                                CHAPTER EIGHT

                                      RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT 

                                     "Legislatures are like animals in a zoo.
                                       You can't do anything about 'em.  All you                                                                                               can do is just stand and watch 'em."  
                                                                           ... Will Rogers   

            Responsible government?  Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?
        Looking around at the various governments in the world today, it appears
        to be almost impossible to find one that is acting responsibly.  From the
        management of the smallest village to the halls of the United Nations, we
        see greed, corruption, and selfishness creeping into every governmental
        decision.  There seems to be evidence everywhere that power does indeed
        corrupt even the most idealist "governor" eventually.
                Why is this so?  What is there about us that makes us unable to 
        manage our affairs so that everyone is fairly treated?  What is the best form
        of government, and why do we need one at all?  These questions are at the
        heart of all human history, whether recorded or forgotten.  It apparently is
        the nature of humanity that we must have a hierarchy of some sort to 
        survive.  Even a family functions more efficiently when there is one person
        who sets the tone and usually makes the final decisions for everyone.  Some
        kind of social structure is a pretty basic fact of human nature.  Does it have
        to be this way?
                If the world was perfect, and if each of us came here knowing our place
        in it, and were prepared to do, think, and say all the right things, then anarchy
        would probably work.  Everyone would always treat everyone else with fair-                  ness and consideration, and every social situation could be arranged to our
        satisfaction with a little one-on-one discussion.  How often have we seen this?
        Occasionally?  Never? 
                All we have to do to get a glimpse of the problem is to visit a classroom
        full of kindergarten children or pre-schoolers when the teacher is not totally
        in charge.  Apparently, even a group of souls freshly arrived from another 
        level has trouble adjusting to their new situation as "humans".  One of the
        first things a new-born baby does when it arrives here is to cry.  It's almost
        as if the new entry is saying "where am I, and what is happening to me"?
        Then after a few years of learning to walk, talk, and get adjusted to a severely
        limiting environment, the child is tossed into a situation where it has to 
        cooperate with a bunch of other partially-developed individuals in a classroom.
                Some react well.  Some don't.  There are inevitable conflicts as young 
        "people" go from a world which was mostly about them and where their needs
        were taken care of, to a place where they really have to learn to share.  In 
        this sort of environment, which we call a school, there must be some sort of 
        supervision, or at the very least, leadership.  There are some schools whose
        philosophy is based on letting each individual learn at his/her own pace, and
        they seem to work out well, but even then only when there is a trained
        instructor to direct the activity.
                That's government, whether we call it that or not.  When one person
        decides what another person is going to do, by definition, that is govern-ment.  
        If there is payment involved, it's called employ-ment.  If there is force, it's
        slavery or incarceration. Why do we need it?  Because, dear friends, we are
        not always individually responsible.  That's what we are talking about here. 

                "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
            equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain un-alienable
            rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
                                                                    ...  Thomas Jefferson

                These words are well known to most Americans.  They begin the 
        second paragraph of our "Declaration of Independence" from the govern-
        ment of England, or Great Britain, if you prefer.  Apparently, Mr. Jefferson,
        and Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, who worked on the declaration 
        committee with him, really believed them, because they put their lives on
        the line by writing them.
                These bold men, along with many others, formed a new country with
        specific principles that had not been spelled out before in the formation of
        any other known nation.  The principle of equality, and that of certain
        guaranteed rights, have assured the rapid growth of the United States of
        America, which in the past 200 years has become the wealthiest and most
        powerful of all the nations of the world.  In the sense that adherence to 
        certain basic beliefs can build wealth and power, they must have been 
        right. The evidence points to it.
                This book tends to question whether building wealth and power are 
        the main objectives of humanity, but there is not very much wrong with
        guaranteeing each individual the right to pursue his or her own happiness,
        as long as it isn't at the expense of someone else's.  We believe, as did the
        earliest Americans, that everyone has a right to the freedom of choice 
        regarding their own life, and that this right is basic.  It comes with us, a
        gift from A.T.I., when we are born, and our government was designed to 
        see to it that we keep that right.  
                Here's the catch.  There's always a catch, isn't there?  The same law
        of nature (or A.T.I.) that makes it impossible to make a coin with only one
        side, also will not allow us to have any guaranteed "right" without the 
        automatic responsibility that goes with it.  It's a dual creation, remember.
        We can't have one side without the other, just like we can't have light 
        without darkness.  
                After the United States publicly declared their independence from 
        England, the leaders set about the formidable task of writing a "constitution"
        that would spell out the guidelines along which the new country would be
        run.  The project took many months and a great deal of sometimes heated
        discussion, but it got done, whereupon we almost immediately began 
        writing "amendments" to it because it wasn't perfect.  It sill isn't, so we're
        still arguing.
                As most of us also know, the first ten amendments to our constitution
        are generally referred to as the "bill of rights", because they attempt to 
        spell out the specific terms of some of the constitution's guarantees to every
        individual citizen.  What if the authors had also taken the trouble to include
        the corresponding "bill of responsibilities" that went along with it?  What 
        would that look like?  We should probably get that in writing too, since the
        responsibilities are there whether in writing or not.  It might be a good idea
        if we were clear about them.

                                      BILL OF RESPONSIBILITIES


                RIGHTS:  Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the
        press, right of peaceable assembly, right to petition the government.   

                RESPONSIBILITIES:  Amendment I covers a lot of ground, so it                       must place a lot of responsibility on us.  Let's break it down a little.

        Religion:  We don't have to have any interest in religion at all if we don't
        want to, but if we do, we must never attempt to force anyone else to see
        things our way.  We can only offer our point of view, we cannot insist on it.

        Speech, and the Press:  Words have great power.  Every word is an 
        expression of thought, and we know that on the mental level, thoughts 
        are things.  We must choose our words carefully so they have a positive
        effect.  This is important even in our everyday conversation, but it is 
        especially critical in the world of the media, which have a great deal of 
        influence on the public mind.  Negative ideas produce negative consequences,
        no matter how they are worded.  

        Peaceable Assembly:  The responsibility is apparent from the definition.
        Peaceable means peaceable.  No angry shouts, shoving, or rock-throwing
        allowed. There is a world of difference between a cheering crowd and a mob.

        Petition:  See "speech and press".  Since we seem to need to be governed
        by someone, let us keep our communication with them as positive as we can
        to set an example for how we want them to act.  Governors are supposed to 
        reflect the will of the people.  An endless succession of whining, self-serving
        petition is not going to produce good government.


                RIGHTS:  We are allowed our own weapons for the purpose of                           organizing a state militia. 

                RESPONSIBILITIES:  It goes without saying that we cannot go                         around attacking each other, with or without weapons.  Specifically, 
        owning or using a firearm is a huge responsibility because of the potential
        damage (probably, the person who invented the first one should have been
        shot immediately).  The irresponsible use of any kind of weapon by an 
        individual or a nation produces more negative effect than anything else we do.


                RIGHTS:  Privacy.  The government (meaning the military) cannot
        just take over our houses without our permission.

                RESPONSIBILITIES:  This is a large issue.  If someone who has all
        the weapons wants your house, there's not much you can do to stop them
        from taking it.  Waging a mini-war is not the answer.  This situation really 
        needs to be prevented before it ever gets that far, but when things like this
        happen, it's amazing what a little kindness can do to defuse the tension.
                There was a true story that came out of World War II about a lady and
        her two children alone in a remote house in Europe in the middle of a 
        December snow-storm.  The house was found by a few lost American soldiers,
        and also by some German (the enemy) soldiers.  The lady insisted that all 
        weapons be left outside, and invited all the young men in, where they shared
        dinner with the family.  They went their separate ways as friends, despite the
        language and political differences, and the writer of the story (one of the
        American soldiers) said it was one of the best memories of his life.


                RIGHTS:  Protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

                RESPONSIBILITIES:  There are really two responsibilities here.  Since
        we have decided that we need a government, we must as individuals demand              that our representatives take their responsibilities seriously and perform their
        duties like the public servants they are.  Whatever legal means are available 
        should be used to prevent governments from becoming masters instead of
        servants.  It's a challenging task.  The second thing we all must do is to 
        conduct our own lives properly so that we have nothing to hide, which will 
        reduce the chance that anyone would want to search our property. 

                RIGHTS:  We cannot be put on trial twice for the same offense.  We
        cannot be compelled to witness against ourselves, and our property cannot
        be used publicly without compensation.

                RESPONSIBILITIES:  Of course, the reason that these rights were 
​        enumerated in our constitution in the first place is that they were not 
        available under the previous government.  The whole point of declaring our
        independence was to get out from under a government that was out of
        control.  It is the nature of any form of government to do this, and our 
        founders knew it, so they tried to put in place as many controls as possible
        to prevent it.  
                That is our responsibility.  To be endlessly watchful of anyone to whom
        authority is given.  It is very easy to let others make decisions for us, but it
        is a dangerous game.  Since we are involved in a human society which has
        adopted a competitive mind-set, we are obligated to make sure that our own
        input is always positive, and to make our own choices according to the 
        highest principles we know.  The cumulative effect of large numbers of people
        living correctly  will be a government that acts accordingly, because it is made
        of the same kind of people.


                RIGHTS:  All these have to do with the activities of the legal system.
        They involve our rights in regard to criminal prosecution, trial by jury, and
        protection from cruel and unusual punishments.

                RESPONSIBILITIES:  The first obligation we have is obviously to avoid
        doing anything knowingly that would generate the need for legal action 
        against us.  This seems simple enough, but an amazing number of people
        ignore it.  In the event that we find ourselves in the position of a defendant
        even though we tried to do what we thought was right, our need to conduct
        ourselves correctly becomes even greater.
                Rather than become cynical because there are others who mistreat us
        or attempt to create problems where there should be none, we must become
        more ethical and fair-minded ourselves.  Even if they do not always act like
        it, others will observe our actions and respond to them.  Our approach should
        not be defensive.  It should be actively positive to bring about a positive
        result.  The only reason that the system appears not to work is that as a 
        group we do not answer unfair treatment with kindness nearly often enough.
        If all of us insisted on implementing the "golden" rule, there would be far
        less need for legal remedies of any kind.


                RIGHTS:  Simply states that the rights listed in the constitution are not
        the only ones we have.

                RESPONSIBILITIES:  Since we know that every right has a corresponding
        responsibility, the more rights we have, the more responsible we must be.
        Let us keep in mind that while the rights we are talking about are supposed
        to be "guaranteed" by our government, they did not originate there.  They 
        come from A.T.I., and they are an automatic component of our humanity.
        The government cannot really give them to us, it can only take them away
        by mismanagement.  
                In the same way, the responsibilities that come with being a temporary
        inhabitant of earth are always there whether or not they are spelled out in
        writing.  If we are allowed to ignore our responsibilities by our so-called
        governors and do so, then we are like spoiled children who go around causing
        problems because their parents are not acting responsibly.  Sooner or later,
        someone will be accountable.  The laws of nature will not be suspended just
        because we aren't paying attention to them.


                RIGHTS:  Any authority not specifically given to the national government
        is reserved by the states or (more importantly) by the people.  

                RESPONSIBILITIES:   This is an attempt to hold back the tendency for
        large government bodies to always get larger.  The states, being smaller 
        entities, must not fall into the trap of depending on the larger organization to
        fill all their needs.  Concurrently, the people must not fall into the same trap
        by depending on the state, or the city, or any other organization to fill theirs.
                It is fine to have these organizations, but it is not ever a good idea to 
        surrender our A.T.I.-given freedom of choice by depending on them.  It is 
        the dependence that gets us in trouble.  Governments in general do not seize
        control of their people.  It is handed to them voluntarily by anyone who asks
        to have his or her life managed by someone else.  We do this every time we
        allow our government to do things for us that we could easily do for our self.
        In the last analysis, we cannot ever expect to have responsible government
        unless we have responsible citizens, and that means all of us.


                This is not exactly new information.  Hundreds and hundreds of years
        ago, China produced a collection of writing that was attributed to someone
        called Lao Tzu, and offered a beautiful description of the proper attitude for
        a responsible king, and also a responsible populace.  The poetry of the 
        Tao Te Ching is as profound and appropriate today as it ever was. 
                I have a 1955 translation by Raymond B. Blackney, who was president
        of Olivet College, a former missionary and teacher in China, and an author of
        many volumes on oriental religions.  This is a sample of Mr. Blackney's 
        translation of the wonderful advice of the Tao (literally "The Way").

                             "Set firm in the Way: none shall uproot you; 

                            Cherish it well, and none shall estrange you;

                            Your children's children faithful shall serve

                            Your forbears at the altar of your house.

                                    Cultivate the Way yourself,

                                           And your virtue will be genuine.

                                    Cultivate it in the home,

                                           And its virtue will overflow.

                                    Cultivate it in the village, 

                                           And the village will endure.

                                    Cultivate it in the world,

                                           And virtue will be universal.

                                                    How do I know the world is like this?

                                                    I know this by intuition."

                So do you.  So do all of us.  We are A.T.I.  We all intuitively know 
        the right thing to do in every situation and our job, our responsibility, is
        to listen to our own inner self and do it.  If we do, our governments will
        automatically be responsible ones.                                                                                                                      


                                                                    CHAPTER NINE

                                                    RE-DECORATING THE JAIL CELL

                                                 "A human being is a part of the whole, called by 
                                                us 'universe'.  A part limited in time and space, he
                                                experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling, as
                                                something apart from the rest - a kind of optical 
                                                delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a
                                                kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal
                                                decisions and to affection for a few persons nearest
                                                to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this
                                                prison by widening our circle of compassion to
                                                embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature
                                                in its beauty."   
                                                                                       ... Albert Einstein 

                    The previous chapter was about the rights and responsibilities of those of                     us who live in a "free" country.  What is this freedom we have, and for which
        so many have fought and died?  America became free when it was no longer
        under the dominance of England, did it not?  We feel as though we are free
        because most of us still have the right to do and say what we want without
        excessive control by someone else.  That is not possible in some other areas
        of the world, so we treasure it. 
                But there is another kind of freedom which most of us do not possess.
        It is a very personal thing, and it is of utmost importance if we really want to
        be free.  Do we? Of course we want to.  Everyone does.  The following quote
        is from a book called "Think on These Things" by J. Krishnamurti, which was
        published in England in 1964.  It is about this kind of freedom.

                        "... but freedom is really a state of mind in which there is no
                fear or compulsion, no urge to be secure.
                        Don't most of us want to be safe?  Don't we want to be told
                what marvelous people we are, how lovely we look, or what extra-
                ordinary intelligence we have?  Otherwise, we would not put letters
                after our names.  All that kind of thing gives us self-assurance, a
                sense of importance.  We all want to be famous people, and the 
                moment we want to be something, we are no longer free."

                The book just quoted is a remarkable discussion of the human 
        condition by an outstanding thinker of a few generations past. 
        Mr. Krishnamurti saw himself and the rest of us with wonderful clarity, and
        had the ability to put into words what we all know to be true, but either 
        cannot express, or simply do not want to think about at all.  There are 
        several books of his writing, and they are all to be recommended to anyone
        who want to know who we really are, and why we do what we do.
                One of his choice expressions that I have never forgotten was 
        "re-decorating the jail cell", and I have chosen it as the title for this chapter
        because it puts in a few words one of the biggest and most common mistakes
        of mankind, and that means you and me. To most of us, the idea of a jail cell
        is abhorrent.  There is no greater loss of freedom than to be locked in a small
        room with no way out, and I'm sure that anyone who has suffered this fate 
        will never forget it.  
                Yet a "jail cell" was the way J.K. described the state in which many of us
        live, because of our lack of personal freedom.  If we are dependent on 
        possessions, power, beauty, respect, money, romance, or even organized 
        religion for our sense of self and happiness, then we are technically in a prison
        of our own making.  We will all ultimately that if and when we attain any of 
        these objects of our desire, the satisfaction derived will be only temporary, and
        the nagging sense that there is something missing will soon return.  We will
        want more.
                The world calls this attitude "ambition", and praises it.  Anyone who rises
        above his/her peers in the areas of accomplishment we've mentioned receives
        compliments, awards, or adulation.  It's hard to resist that temptation.  We all
        want to be respected and appreciated for who we are or what we've done. 
        But where is the benefit of all that effort if the world is not a better, happier,
        or more comfortable place for everyone after we have finished?  A physician 
        who had attended many dying patients was once heard to remark, "I never 
        heard anyone on their death bed say, 'I wish I had worked more'."
                On the same subject, there is a Native American proverb that goes 
        something like this:  "The fist thing a man thinks when he realizes that he has
        just died is, 'Why was I so serious?'.
                So what are we saying - that none of us should try to improve ourselves
        or our position in the world?  That all effort is futile, and our accomplishments
        are vain? Is there nothing we can do to be free?  Believe it or not, there are 
        some people who really believe that is true.  There are some "scientists"
        (literally, those who know) who subscribe to the "chaos theory" that says that
        the whole universe is a big accident, and has no particular purpose at all.  There
        are also those who have tried to find meaning in their life, but have been so 
        frustrated by circumstances that they have given up and stopped trying.
                There are even certain individuals who consider themselves to be religious
        because they partially understand the ideas of reincarnation and "karma", and
        have used them as an excuse for inactivity.  These people are convinced that
        we are all placed in a particular situation at birth and that it is improper to try
        to improve that position, or even to help someone else to improve theirs.  That
        strikes me as a beautiful example of a self-created jail cell.
                It is our conviction, after nearly fifty years of study and wrestling with 
        these questions, that life is definitely purposeful.  Our problems arise from the 
        fact that we don't make enough effort to discover that purpose.  We are like
        children playing a game who have become so fascinated with playing it that we
        have lost sight of the object of the game.
                It is a game, after all.  We must always be on guard against taking ourselves 
​        too seriously.  The reason we are all so fascinated, starting in childhood, with 
        games of all kinds, is that they are metaphors for our life.  A game has rules or
        boundaries, an ultimate objective, a certain level of competition, and if it is 
        played by more than one person, even seems to have a winner and a loser. 
        That's life, isn't it?
                So what's wrong with competition?  Nothing.  It's fun, but only if we don't 
        get carried away and assume that we must win at all costs.  A game that is out
        of control is called a war, and that game results in mass murder.  Obviously, we
        are not supposed to elevate our competition with each other to that level.  That's
        why games have rules, and so does our life.
                Let us digress for a moment and consider what some of these rules might
        be.  If we are clear about the important rules of this game called life, then 
        perhaps we might become better players.  That is sort of what this book is all
        about, and of course we started way back in Chapter Two by giving some basic
        "rules" for living successfully.  Remember?

             2.  BE HERE NOW.

        Why did we pick these rules, and what would happen if everyone played by them?
                The three basic rules offered here have two things in common.  (1) They are
        all very simple to understand so that anyone can play the game.  (2) They are
        also unbelievably complex and difficult to master in actual practice, so that no 
        matter what level of skill we attain, we can still enjoy the challenge.  Life is not
        just any old game.  It is the perfect game, and the most perfect part of it is this:
                Because of the endless complications of our existence however, life, just 
        like all the other interesting games we invent, does not have just three rules.
        There are many more guidelines we can use to help us understand how things
        work, and stay on the right track to winning the game.  A few thoughts on some
        of these other "rules and regs" might be appropriate here.
                Probably the next most important thing for all of us to remember is that
        once creation is set in motion and becomes kinetic energy, it stays in motion.
        There may ultimately be a rest period or a time out for all of creation too, but
        for our purposes, that would be so far off that it doesn't apply to us who are 
        focused in the here and now.  We need to keep moving just to keep up. Change
        is the status quo.  Every time we take a break and stop trying to learn, we lose
        ground.  The universe will not pause and wait for us.  We will either keep moving,
        or we will be pushed.  
                This rule tells us something important about fixing the problems of this 
        world.  Since everything is always changing, we really can't make any permanent
        repairs to the mechanism of life.  There is no once-and-for-all fix that we can put
        into place.  It's not about a final destination, it's about direction of movement. 
        We can't fix all the problems, but we can, and we must, make sure that our 
        efforts are helping the world move in the right direction.  Things in general, as
        well as the details of our own little world are always getting better or worse, and
        it is our job to see that we are helping, not hindering.
                Another thing that it would be helpful for us to keep in mind is that there is
        unity in this creation.  That's why we call it "one song" or "uni-verse".  What
        works in one area will probably work in another.  What is effective on one level
        of vibration is often just a reflection of what is generating progress on another.
                We have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.  In the late 1600's 
        in England, there was a gentleman named Isaac Newton who saw the world a 
        little more clearly than his fellows, and changed scientific thinking dramatically
        with his observations - for example:

                "To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction; or, the 
                mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and
                directed to contrary parts."
                "Every body contains in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a 
                right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces 
                impressed against it."

                Those of us who took science courses in school were taught the above
        principles and were told that they were universal laws of physics that gave us
        an understanding of how the world of matter wags, and what wags it.  I don't
        recall being told, however, that the same laws would apply to the world of 
        thought, or of the spirit.  Maybe I was told this, but I wasn't the most attentive
        student, so I missed it.
                If that idea had been stressed, I might have been made aware in my youth
        that it is impossible because of natural law to direct a negative thought to any-
        one or anything else without producing an "equal and opposite" negative reaction.
        Or I might have seen that the apparent tragedy that befell someone who was on
        a spiritually destructive path was merely the "forces impressed" on that individual
        by A.T.I. to compel him or her to change direction.
                Natural laws do not turn on and off on a whim to suit individual needs or
        extenuating circumstances.  The reason they are called laws is that they are 
        always there, and we can depend on them.  Gravity works every time unless we
        apply some other kind of force to offset it.  We will either learn how to work with
        these rules, or we will continue to believe that we are being victimized by them.
                So what is the purpose of all these rules, laws, regulations, and limits that
        we live with or struggle against?  Are they just there to teach us how to build 
        better houses or bigger cities?  Is the objective of A.T.I. to force us to create
        powerful nations, or larger and better organized societies?  Are we to understand
        natural law only so we can make better laws and fairer governments of our own?
                Perhaps.  These do not seem to be undesirable goals for human-kind. If
        we accomplished all these things, the world would certainly be improving steadily.
        But how can we hope to sustain any progress at all if we, the individuals who are
        the stuff of which society is made, are not growing in wisdom one by one?  How
        can we build a better house if the bricks are defective?
                It seems fairly clear to me that the real objective of the force (or personality)
        that we are calling A.T.I. is the refinement by experience of each living soul-
        entity, one at a time.  We are the players of the instruments in the grand eternal
        symphony, and we must all learn to play our own part perfectly or the music will
        always be discordant.  Every single one of us is essential to the performance, and
        those who cannot or will not play their part correctly must, and will be pushed,
        shoved, encouraged, helped, praised, criticized, or even beaten over the head if
        necessary until they get it.  That's a natural law.  It's not a vengeful God, but our
        own stubborn ignorance that's causing us to work so hard.  How do we work at it?
        Lots of ways, but some are more effective than others.  It does absolutely no good
        to keep altering the style of our government to solve problems caused by
        irresponsible individuals.  That is re-decorating the jail cell.  
                It is useless to build more and larger houses and arrange them in more
        efficient cities and towns if the inhabitants don't care about each other.  That is
        re-decorating the jail cell.  
                It is meaningless to erect beautiful school buildings and universities if the
        students are not taught the real purpose of education along with how to make
        a living.  That is re-decorating the jail cell.
                What is the point of having churches, monasteries, or cathedrals if all they
        are used for is dogmatic ritual that creates dependent and guilt-ridden souls?
        That is re-decorating the jail cell.
                It is particularly misleading to become obsessed with our physical health
        and well-being to the point of creating medical systems that extend the duration
        of earth life without improving it mentally and spiritually as well.  That is, you
        guessed it, re-decorating the jail cell.
                And on and on.  For too many of us, the focus is always on tending to the
        leaves and branches of our trees and ignoring the roots.  Is it any wonder that 
        the forest is not always enchanted?  Most of us have heard the expression: 
       "Everyone wants to change the world, but no-one wants to change himself". 
        But we still keep trying to do it that way. 
                    I'm not making this up.  Today's big city newspaper that I have just 
        received (It's Sunday) has on the front page with a big headline, an article
        entitled, "Moral Issues Spark Push To Alter Society".  Isn't that what we are 
        talking about?  A section of the article lists a half-dozen "issues" that face 
        voting-age people these days, and offers a quote from one person on each
        subject.  The issues listed are: "Ten Commandments Displays, "Abortion Ban",
        'Traditional Marriage", Decline of Moral Values", "Ending Judicial Activism", 
        and Politics and Religion".  
                The people who are quoted are each getting an opportunity to sound off
        on one of these subjects, and all have a valid point of view.  It seems to be a 
        good idea that a prominent newspaper will give several pages of space to a 
        discussion of these matters, but the conclusions offered by the  writers and 
        those who contributed their opinions do not reveal  a great deal of deep 
        thinking.  The lady who was asked about moral values even said, "Sure, I'm
        concerned about moral values, but I really don't think it's that big a deal".
                Maybe she's right.  Maybe it isn't that big a deal.  But I'm more inclined
        to agree with the elderly gentleman who apparently lives in a part of the city
        that has a higher crime rate.  His comment about the ten commandments 
        included, "Those are laws that pertain to everyday life.  If people taught it to
        their kids, they wouldn't be out there shooting and killing and disrespecting."
        That's pretty much the whole idea in a nut-shell.  What happens in the outside
        world is merely a reflection of what's going on inside us.  
                I offer the following thoughts of my own as a short summary of what I've
        been trying to say.

                *  Government cannot make the world better, nor can big business.
                    Only individuals can.  One cannot build a quality house from poor 

                *  Lighten up.  Don't take yourself so seriously.  This is an eternal 
                    game - we're not going anywhere.  Love yourself and everything
                    else.  The only punishment you[ll  ever get is what you give 
                    yourself with the unnecessary baggage of guilt.

                *  What A.T.I. wants is for each of us to evolve back into co-creators
                    and bring with us all the experience we have accumulated.  The 
                    way we do this is to become more like A.T.I. every day.  

                *  We are all micro-copies of a three-part creative force - ALL THAT IS.

                PART ONE - PHYSICAL        The GENERATOR. or electrical creation -
                electrical energy that manifests in infinite ways, only one of which
                is the one we call "matter".

                PART TWO - MENTAL        The AMPERAGE, or electrical flow - an
                endless field of information accessible to each of us.

                PART THREE - SPIRITUAL       The VOLTAGE, or electrical pressure -
                the emotional force we are calling love, which is the motive behind
                the creation.      


                All we have to do to be more like A.T.I. is to: (1) be more alive by being
        aware of the electrical force that is everywhere, (2) seek to learn, learn, learn -
        there are no limits, and (3) be more patient, kind, tolerant, and forgiving - in
        short, be unconditionally loving.  The prison walls will soon vanish.

                                                                    CHAPTER TEN

                                    "Why do you call me "Lord, Lord', and not do
                                           what I tell you?
                                                                                ...  Luke 7:46    

                     Of those few who might read this book, some of you perhaps were
        offended by my opinionated  comments and arbitrary attitude about my
        subject.  If you were so bothered by my style that you stopped reading
        long ago, then the rest of what i have to say, which is even more blunt,
        will not matter to you.  If you have gotten this far, then it's possible that
        you at least partially agree with my point of view, and I'm hoping that 
        these final comments will also be of some interest to you.  
                At this writing, i have passed my 70th year on earth, I am still fairly
        healthy, working more-or-less full time, and enjoying my life.  Why 
        shouldn't I?  I have been married twice, raised (or helped to) six children, 
        and have eleven grand-children and a large extended family.  I've had 
        several careers after leaving college after two years, and have been self-
        employed for the last thirty.  That's a lot of experiences - some good - 
        some not so good, but a full life, nonetheless.  
                I began my own research for understanding of this world about 
        fifty years ago, and much of what I have found is in the pages of this
        book and the two others I have written.  Whether any of it is useful to 
        someone else, only time will tell.  I'm writing because I feel like I have to,
        and if it does nothing else, it helps me to clear up my own thinking.  It's
        difficult to put your thoughts on paper without  going over and over them
        with some care.  
                While writing these pages, I couldn't help feeling that there was a 
        little more that I wanted to say about some specific subjects that were not
        covered very fully in the nine chapters just completed.  I've edited these 
        selected subject down to just three, and the following comments represent
        how I really feel about them after all these years.  You're certainly entitled
        to disagree, but that's fine.  You'll have to admit that there is nothing new
        about the lively discussion of these topics.  They are:

                            1.  Christianity
                            2.  Reincarnation
                            3.  Health care

        This chapter will offer some pertinent comments about Christianity.
                I had really begun to  discuss the matter of reincarnation first, but
        it immediately dawned on me that it was organized Christianity that made
        the discussion necessary.  Most of the other well-known world religions
        have no problem with the idea of many "lifetimes" for an individual soul.
        It seems that only Christianity has stuck its official head in the sand and
        decided that God couldn't possibly arrange to have the same soul sent 
        here more than once.  
                How arbitrary is that?  It is typical of the dogmatic thinking that 
        characterized the early years of the Christian church.  When Constantine
        decided  to make Christianity the "official" religion of the Roman Empire, 
        he started it on the long slippery slope that turned a perfectly good 
        religion into a political machine whose agenda had more to do with 
        building the organization than actually helping people.  
                The fact that Christianity still has the power to help is a tribute to 
        the fact that Jesus was somebody special, and in spite of the strange
        distortion of his message that survived the church's editing, he still is.
        Actually, we need to clear that up right here at the beginning.  I saw a
        billboard the other day that said "Jesus lives".  Well. in the sense that
        time does not really exist and that past, present, and future are simul-
        taneous, then I suppose that's true, but I'd be more inclined to say that
        Jesus is dead, but Christ lives.  That's not the same thing.  
                There is a difference, and it's the same difference (an oxymoron)
        that we have been talking about in the rest of this book.  Jesus was a 
        man.  He was a temporary role played by an eternal soul just like all of 
        us are.  The word "Christ" refers to the timeless soul that was specifically
        chosen (or volunteered) to play that role because it was uniquely qualified
        to do so.  Not everyone can be Hamlet.  Darn few of us could have done
        what Jesus did. 
                What did he do?  Let's try to get the story straight, and then we'll
        see if we can determine what the organization that calls itself Christianity
        has done with it.  I am sorry to say that this discussion is going to be the
        short version of the story.  I am considering writing a whole book on the
        subject of Jesus' life and work (to go along with all the others that have
        already been written), since my own fifty years of research has yielded 
        far more information than can be included here.  Any reader who is dis-
        satisfied with this brief account is hereby invited to begin his or her own 
        lifetime search for the truth.  It's a fascinating project.
                We cannot hope to understand the man we call Jesus unless we 
        first acquaint ourselves with a group called the "Essenes", who lived in
        Palestine 2,000 years ago.  The Essenes were a highly spiritual sect of
        the Jewish religion, and were themselves out of the mainstream of 
        thought at that time.  They had their own communities, their own schools,
        and a much more profound understanding of the world's situation than 
        most others of their time.
                They included healers, mystics, and others who were in touch with
        multiple levels of our "reality" on a regular basis.  These things were also
        taught to advanced students in their schools.  These skills were used to 
        "arrange" the birth of one particular individual who would be an earthly
        vehicle for the "Logos", an exact, perfected model of the Creator.  This is
        no small task.  It took several generations, beginning probably with the 
        parents of the one we call Mary, the mother of Jesus.
                Much is made of the claim that Mary was still a "virgin" at the time 
        of Jesus' birth, and some still think that is impossible.  Whether it is an
        historic fact or not is irrelevant, but it's amazing to me that someone 
        could imagine a Creator capable of setting up universes who could not 
        manage a simple thing like a a "virgin" birth.  Every birth is a miracle.  
        The creative force of the universe doesn't need out help to make new
        new humans.  That is just the way it is normally done to make us feel
        responsible.  There is evidence to show that Mary's mother was also a 
        virgin.  These were very special people who were on a mission.
                At any rate, Jesus was born according to the plan, and he was 
        brought up by the community with the extra care needed for their star
        pupil.  His training was both intensive and extensive.  The eighteen or so
        years of his life that were deliberately edited out of our "Bible" were 
        excluded because the official organization had decided to sever any ties
        with the Essenes.  The new "Christianity" also did not want any connection
        with any of the other Eastern religions that existed at that time, so they
        literally destroyed records, omitted facts, and created a whole new history
        of Jesus' life to suit their own purpose.  They did a wonderful job.  It is
        very difficult to find the truth, unless we really look for it.
                The truth is that the man we call Jesus (in Hebrew, Yeshua) spent     
        the first 30 or so years of his life in total preparation for his mission.  He
        studied (and preached) in Egypt, India, Tibet, and all points in between
        before returning to Palestine for the final years of his public life.  Even 
        the Bible stops short of saying that he spent his life in a carpenter shop.
        I don't know where that piece of fiction originated.
                There is a short passage in the Bible that covers the "baptism" of 
        Jesus. but it is rather vague about the event.  That is too bad, because it
        was significant.  After a lifetime of preparation, what happened to the 
        man at that point is probably beyond our understanding.  It involved a 
        complete transformation - a "graduation" of sorts, into the Logos in human
        form.  From that moment on, Jesus was not like the rest of us.  He became
        a perfect and complete model of what we all can become, but have not
        attained.  Some of what he was able to do after that has been fairly well
                What I have to say now is going to offend a lot of people.  It cuts 
        right through the heart of what passed for Christianity these days, but it
        is what this book is all about, so I will write it anyway and see what 
        happens.  It concern's the "death" of Jesus.  
                The current story about this event is that he was put on trial because
        he was creating a disturbance by his preaching, which was becoming too
        popular for both the Roman officials and the Jewish church.  He was 
        exposing the defects and hypocrisy of these organizations and they 
        couldn't take the pressure.  Contrary to popular opinion, however, it was
        not the Jews who sought to have him killed.  They were content to argue
        with him.  It was the Roman emperor who just said, "get rid of him". 
        Rome was building an empire, and they couldn't be bothered with this 
        annoying disturbance in Palestine - they were interested in bigger goals.
        Crucifixion was their method for solving small problems like this.
        Pilate, the governor, had no choice.  He did what he was told to do.
        It was only later, when Rome became the center of the Christian religion,
        that the "facts" were edited to make it appear that the death sentence
        handed down was the Jews' idea.
                Now the story really gets complicated.  They held their mock trial
        and carried out the sentence.  I have discovered two possible scenarios
        for what took place.  (1)  The "dead" body of Jesus was given back to 
        his friends and family (the Essenes), who were perfectly capable of 
        restoring it back to "life", because they understood the process of dying
        much better than we do.  Or (2)  The man who was actually crucified
        was not Jesus at all, but another of the self-proclaimed "messiahs" of 
        the time who volunteered to take his place.  In either case, the present
        popular story is inaccurate.  At this point, the Logos that had animated
        the man withdrew and Jesus spent the rest of his earth years in the 
        seclusion of the Essenes' private community, his mission completed.
                There is a great deal more that could be told about this story 
        about the birth of one of the world's great religions, including some
        rather startling facts about both the characters known as "John the Baptist"
        and the disciple known as "Paul", who is credited with founding the 
        organized Christian church with his missionary zeal.  The information is 
        beyond the scope of this book, so it is not included, but we again urge
        our readers to carry out their own search.  The truth, whatever it is, will
        create a religion that is more alive and satisfying than the present super-
        stitions, and will truly "set you free" as promised by the Master.
                We all know what the organized church has since done with this
        story.  They took a little of the idea of "karma" from the eastern religions
        and combined it with a lot superstition from their own and came up with
        the idea that Christ "died" for all the "sins" of everyone else.  This was 
        all about control.  The church officials then went about telling the un-
        educated masses that only the Christian church could save them from 
        eternal damnation, and it scared the "hell" out of them.
                They carefully selected and edited the "scriptures", and even told
        everyone that they, the priests, were the sole interpreters of the holy
        books.  They did a fabulous selling job.  The organized "Catholic" (which
        means 'universal', or 'all-inclusive' - how arrogant is that?) church 
        became a world political power.  They now even have their own country.
        In the process, they have convinced half of the world that we are all 
        dependent on a "savior" for our eternal life (which we all have anyway)
        so we have no more individual responsibility than to believe what we are
        told.  There was even a period in the ensuing years that you could be 
        tortured and/or burned alive if you disagreed.  
                This story is so full of holes that it is hard to know where to begin
        to straighten it out.  We will just make a couple of more observations 
        here, and encourage you again to search your own mind and heart for
        the truth.  
                Observation #1   The Christ (literally, the chosen one) is an eternal
        soul like us, but one that has been perfected by eons of experience and 
        returned to one-ness with the creative force that the Bible calls "the
        Father", and I am calling "A.T.I.  The Christ  has come here to earth many
        times and in many forms to help the rest of us extricate ourselves from
        our self-created problems.  This is what is really meant by "Christ died
        for our sins".  Coming here is "dying", by comparison to some other 
        levels of consciousness.  Jesus was on of the most recent and notable 
        of these "incarnations", and his mission was to set an example for all of
        us by showing us what we are capable of becoming.  He did not perform
        "miracles".  He was only demonstrating some of the possibilities.
                Observation #2   The notion that we are supposed to "worship"
        the Creator is man-made.  It is a guilt trip encouraged by the organization
        for its own benefit.  There is no place in any of the scriptural writings in 
        the world where "God" is directly quoted as saying, "I want you to worship
        me".  It is a good idea if we acknowledge the creative force, because "His"
        reality is our own, and ignoring this fact gets us in a lot of trouble, but
        "worship" is not necessary, it's misleading.  On this subject, we are 
        reminded that very often in our present-day Christian liturgy, Jesus is 
        referred to as "Lord" or "King" or some other model of authority.  As far
        as I can tell, he repeatedly said that he did not want to be a King, or a 
        boss of any other kind.  That is precisely the kind of hierarchical foolish-
        ness that he was opposing.  He was our older brother, our foster parent, 
        and the only thing he asked from us was love, both for him and for each
        other.  We are the ones who have turned that message into guilt and
                If we really want to become "Christians", we only have to try to 
        find the "Christ" in ourselves.  This Christ is the Creator,  All That Is, and
        can be Muslim, Buddhist, Shinto, or any other symbolic religion as long
        as the love is there.  That's the only criterion. 
                It may seem to some readers that this way of looking at Christianity
        and its founders takes away the magic and wonder of the traditional story.
        We do not want to give up our childhood fantasies - they are very com-
        forting in a way, and they do get us off the hook of personal responsibility.
        But it's a mistake to think that we have to lose our sense of wonder to be
        responsible.  The miracles of creation are everywhere if we just open our
        eyes, and Jesus' life was one of them.
                Accepting responsibility for our own "salvation" may seem like too
        much to handle, especially if we try to get it done all in one short earth
        experience, which is part of the dogmatic myth we have adopted, but it
        is no less believable that the fanciful tale we have been told.  it really 
        makes no difference whether Jesus allowed himself to be crucified to 
        pay our karmic debts, or to show us the supreme example of unselfishness.
        We ought to appreciate it either way.  
                The famous American "seer" Edgar Cayce was quoted more than 
        once as saying, "We don't go to heaven, we grow to heaven".  He also 
        spent his whole life teaching Sunday School in a Christian church because
        he saw no conflict whatsoever in using the Christ as an example instead
        of a crutch.  The Christ, however, is a universal symbol in the same way
        that "All That Is" is a universal Creator. 
                A.T.I. is the Christian "God".  It is also the Muslim "Allah", the 
        Hindu "Brahma", and all the other gods and goddesses that man has
        used as representatives of some of the Creator's qualities.  "Christ" is  
        all of the prophets of all of the man-made gods who have tried through
        all the ages to help us see the truth that we are also part of A.T.I., and
        just need to start acting like it.
                The eternal Christ is only interested in the quality of our lives, and
        couldn't care less what name we give our "religion".  I imagine he shakes
        his head in amazement at some of the things we do in the name of 
        Christianity.  Jesus reportedly got a little upset with the opportunists who
        were selling things in Jerusalem's temple to help gullible people to get
        into heaven.  These days, we are a little more subtle.  We just open
        "Christian" bookstores and peddle Bibles, pictures, and crosses.  That 
        might be progress, but not much.
                There is nothing wrong with using symbols of one kind or another
        to help us remember what is important, but too many of us fall in love
        with our symbols.  In truth, the whole world is nothing but a symbol of 
        the inner realities we also inhabit, and our mistake is that we lost in this
        symbol, too.  There is a well-known Zen saying that goes: "The finger 
        that points at the moon is not the moon".  The world is like a reform 
        school for wayward souls, and the various religions we invent are just
        paths that are supposed to help us learn our lessons and find our way.
        We have to be careful that we don't focus too hard on the school, the 
        religion, or the pointing finger, and miss the moon.


                   "Every book is a quotation".
                                                 .. Ralph Waldo Emerson