Excerpt from 1956 First Steinway Hall Practitioner Class -
Above and Beyond Thought or Thing - 2
Master #142 - Tape 3 - Side 1
Now, if you could perceive the nature of an illusion, for instance, if you could look out of the window and see the sky sitting on the mountain and know that it is not happening out there, it is happening in your thought, in your false sense of sight, you wouldn't be afraid to climb to the top of the mountain for fear of running into the sky. Or, up until 1492, had they known the nature of illusion, they would have perceived that the sky doesn't settle down on the water out there about eight miles, that that is not an externalized, physical condition, but a mental image in thought, nowhere existing except in limited vision of that which is. Now, we either have to make statements like "God is all" and then when we are faced with appearances of discord just keep on saying God is all" until we arrive at that conviction or inner realization or else we have to use our powers of thinking, contemplation, until we are able to lift ourselves into the conviction of God's all-ness. There is but one power and that is God, but God is not the author of death. God is not the creator of death. God is not the creator of accidents. God is not the creator of storms at sea. God is not the creator of volcanoes and tornadoes. That is absolutely fantastic. You would have to go back to a Hebrew God to believe any such thing. You would have to give up your Christianity which says God is love to believe there is anything loving about a ship going down in the middle of the ocean or an airplane falling out of the sky for any reason whatsoever, even for an inscrutable reason.
If you can outgrow that Hebrew concept of God, if you can even give up the desire that God somehow annihilate your enemies, then you can begin to perceive the Christian, the Christly concept of God or revelation of God and you no longer will battle sin, disease, death, lack and limitation. You will begin to understand the nature of error as an appearance, as a suggestion, as a presentation that has no concrete existence, no outlined form. Eventually, if you are not afraid to think about religion, and about God, and about Christ and about this universe, if you have no superstitious scruples about thinking along religious lines, you will come to the ultimate realization of why there is error anywhere on earth and why it ever came on earth and what it is that continues it. You will find that it is fear. It is the fear of the word "I." I do not wish to be extinct and a little blister could become an infection that could kill me, I, Joel. The only reason we fear unemployment is that we may starve to death or freeze to death. The only reason we don't like any form of sickness, no matter how mild it is, is that it might lead to death. There is only one error on all the earth and that is our own fear of our extinction, the little I, the me that would rather be 80 years of age than 60 on earth. Take all the men in the death houses in all the prisons that are fighting and sometimes spending fortunes to avoid the electric chair to stay in prison the rest of their lives.
There is only one reason, the fear of extinction. They know that the living is going to be worse than death, but at least it is going to be some form of "I" continuing, walking around in dungeons. They would rather have that "I" walking around in a dungeon than to face what may lie before it. Why is self-preservation the first law of nature? That gives you the whole secret of error, self-preservation. We all want to preserve this sense of "I," even in its miseries. People are lying in bed at 80, 90, and 100 years of age, living dead, but they won't let themselves go. No. They are going to cling to that false sense of "I," even though it accomplishes nothing on earth but lying in bed the rest of its days. I am not saying that as if they could help it, because they can't help it any more than we can help it and there isn't anybody in this room that isn't doing the same thing. No exceptions, we are all clinging to a sense of "I" and it is that "I" that we want made comfortable. It is that "I" that we would like to glorify by being president, or being dictator or by being this, that, or the other thing. It is that "I" that we wish to glorify by seeing our name in print or something else. It is that false sense of "I" that we are catering to, that we are worshiping, and that we are feeding and that we are clothing. So long as there is this false sense of "I," there will be the fears about it and that will lead to every error there is on earth because in proportion as we would lose our fears, the errors themselves would disappear.
The illustration of that is this: "I" is God. And God is self maintained and self sustained and the minute you give up your concern for the false sense of that "I", it goes right along enjoying itself, prospering itself, drawing to itself everything and everyone that it needs for its unfoldment. But, entertaining the false sense of "I" sets up a fear, a fear of its ultimate extinction but also a fear of temporary discomfort. That is why in the Hindu scriptures it is said that you must face disgrace with the same feeling that you face honors, with utter indifference because the fame and the disgrace are about a false sense of you, not of you. You neither deserve fame nor ill-fame. You deserve nothing. God is the only one. And so, as you could give up resentments, as you could stop resenting thrusts at the false sense of yourself, you wouldn't be meeting any. In the same way, as you could give up any desire for recognition, for honor, you would be losing that false sense of self and there would be less of sinful desires and less of disease and an absolute impossibility of death. But as long as there is a sense of self that welcomes recognition and fights rumors about itself and gossip and slander, that is the catering to a false sense of "I".
The nature of error, you see, reveals the nothingness of all these evils in the world, the non-power of them, by very virtue of the fact that their only claim to existence is having a false sense of "I" to exist in and act upon and through. Without that false sense of "I", where would error be? Where would it be if there were no "I" to be sick, where would sickness be? If there were no "I" to sin, where would sin be? If there were no "I" to die, where would death be? It would be in the same place that sound would be if there were no one out there to hear it. It just wouldn't be sound. It wouldn't be there. And so, there would be no death if there weren't person to die. Then, isn't the error that sense of person that says, "I am separate and apart from God, that there is a me separate and apart from God?" Isaiah saw all of this. He said, "There is no God, but me." In other words, there is only one God, therefore there can only be one me. He saw and felt and realized no selfhood apart from God. He couldn't speak of himself as man because that false sense, that separate sense of selfhood, had disappeared.