Core Beliefs

From Chapter 3 of The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts:

The role of core beleifs

Core Beliefs Structure Your Reality

“Ideas have an electromagnetic reality; Beliefs are strong ideas about the nature of reality. Ideas generate emotion. Like attracts like, so similar ideas group about each other and you accept those that fit in with your particular “system” of ideas… You get what you concentrate upon. There is no other main rule.

It may be easy for you to see beliefs that are invisible to others in themselves. Reading this, you may be able to point at friends or acquaintances and see clearly that their ideas are invisible beliefs which limit their experience – and yet be blind to your own invisible beliefs, which you take so readily as truth or characteristics of reality.

Your sense data, again, will most definitely reinforce your ideas. You will also react clairvoyantly and telepathically to inner information at an unconscious level that is, once more, “collected” under the organization of your quite conscious concepts concerning existence in general, and your own in particular. So you are locked into physical situations that are corroborated by the great evidence of sense data – and of course it is convincing because it reflects so beautifully, so creatively, and so actively, your own ideas and beliefs, whether they are positive or negative…

It is the core belief which is strong enough to so focus your perception that you perceive from the physical world only those events that correlate with it. It is also the strength of the core belief that draws up from the vast bank of inner knowledge only those events that seem to fit within its organization.

Now let me give you a brief example of a core belief. It is a blanket belief: human nature is inherently evil. This is a core belief. About it will spring events that only serve to reinforce it. Experiences – both personal and global – will come into the perception of a person who holds this belief, that will only serve to deepen it further.

From all the available physical data of newspapers, television, letters and private communication, he or she will concentrate only upon those issues that “prove” that point. Suspicion of others will grow, to say nothing about the individual’s personal distrust. The belief will reach into the most intimate areas of his or her life, and finally no evidence will seem to be available to disprove it.

This is a sample of an invisible core belief at its worst. A person holding it will not trust a mate, family, friends, colleagues, country, or the world in general.  You make your own reality. I cannot say this too often. There will be periods where all of your beliefs are at an even par, so to speak. They will agree.  The ideas may be quite limited. They may be false. They may be based upon premises that are not true. Their vitality and strength however will be quite real, and seem to bring excellent results…

The truth is then that you form your reality directly. You react consciously and unconsciously to your beliefs. You collect from the physical universe, and the interior one, data that seems to correlate with your beliefs.  Believe, then, that you are a being unlimited by nature, born into flesh to materialize as best you can the great joy and spontaneity of your nature.

Core beliefs are those about which you build your life. You are consciously aware of these, though often you do not focus your attention upon them. They become invisible, therefore, unless you become aware of the contents of your conscious mind.  To become acquainted with your own ideas and beliefs you must walk among them, symbolically speaking, without blinders. You must look through the structures that you have yourself created, the organized ideas upon which you have grouped your experience…

The core belief, because of its intensity and because of your habits, will often tend to attract to itself others of a like nature. They will hang on. If you are not accustomed to examining your own mind, then you can allow separate growths of this kind to form about a belief until you cannot distinguish one from the other. This can develop to such an extent that all of your experience is seen only in relationship to this idea- growth.  Data that seems unrelated to this core belief is then not assimilated but thrown into the corners of your mind, unused, and you are denied the value of the information.

A core belief is invisible only when you think of it as a fact of life, and not as a belief about life; only when you identify with it so completely that you automatically focus your perceptions along that specific line.

The structuring of beliefs is done in a highly characteristic yet individual manner, so you will find patterns that exist between various groupings, and one can lead you to another.”

More about the role of beliefs in creating your reality in the Understanding Reality Course



The Divine Matrix

The following is from the Introduction to The Divine Matrix – Bridging time, space, miracles, and belief – by Gregg Braden:

Modern Physics Discovers "The Divine Matrix"

The Divine Matrix – Basis of Everything

“All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind.  This Mind is the matrix of all matter.” – Max Planck, 1944.   With these words, Max Planck, the father of quantum theory, described a universal field of energy that connects everything in creation: the Divine Matrix. The Divine Matrix is our world. It is also everything in our world. It is us and all that we love, hate, create, and experience.

Living in the Divine Matrix, we are as artists expressing our innermost passions, fears, dreams, and desires through the essence of a mysterious quantum canvas. But we are the canvas, as well as the images upon the canvas. We are the paints, as well as the brushes. In the Divine Matrix, we are the container within which all things exist, the bridge between the creations of our inner and outer worlds, and the mirror that shows us what we have created…

John Wheeler, a Princeton physicist and colleague of Einstein, offers a …view of our role in creation. In terms that are bold, clear, and graphic, Wheeler says, “We had this old idea, that there was a universe out there, and here is man, the observer, safely protected from the universe by a six-inch slab of plate glass.” Referring to the late-20th-century experiments that show us how simply looking at something changes that something, Wheeler continues, “Now we learn from the quantum world that even to observe so minuscule an object as an electron we have to shatter that plate glass: we have to reach in there…. So the old word observer simply has to be crossed off the books, and we must put in the new word participator. ”

What a shift! In a radically different interpretation of our relationship to the world we live in, Wheeler states that it’s impossible for us to simply watch the universe happen around us. Experiments in quantum physics, in fact, do show that simply looking at something as tiny as an electron—just focusing our awareness upon what it’s doing for even an instant in time— changes its properties while we’re watching it. The experiments suggest that the very act of observation is an act of creation, and that consciousness is doing the creating. These findings seem to support Wheeler’s proposition that we can no longer consider ourselves merely onlookers who have no effect on the world that we’re observing.

To think of ourselves as participating in creation rather than simply passing through the universe during the brief period of a lifetime requires a new perception of what the cosmos is and how it works… Interestingly, this is precisely the way that the wisdom traditions of the past suggest that our world works. From the ancient Indian Vedas, believed by some scholars to date to 5,000 B.C., to the 2,000year-old Dead Sea Scrolls, a general theme seems to suggest that the world is actually the mirror of things that are happening on a higher realm or in a deeper reality.

The implication of both quantum theory and the ancient texts is that in the unseen realms we create the blueprint for the relationships, careers, successes, and failures of the visible world. From this perspective, the Divine Matrix works like a great cosmic screen that allows us to see the nonphysical energy of our emotions and beliefs (our anger, hate, and rage; as well as our love, compassion, and understanding) projected in the physical medium of life…Sometimes consciously, oftentimes not, we “show” our truest beliefs about everything from compassion to betrayal through the quality of relationships that surround us.

In other words, we’re like artists expressing our deepest passions, fears, dreams, and desires through the living essence of a mysterious quantum canvas. However, unlike a conventional painter’s canvas, which exists in one place at a given time, our canvas is the same stuff that everything is made of—it is everywhere and is always present…The implications of being surrounded by a malleable world of our own making are vast, powerful, and, to some, perhaps a little frightening.  Our ability to use the Divine Matrix intentionally and creatively suddenly empowers us to alter everything about the way we see our role in the universe. At the very least, it suggests that there’s much more to life than chance happenings and occasional synchronicities that we deal with the best we can.

Ultimately, our relationship to the quantum essence that connects us to everything else reminds us that we’re creators ourselves. As such, we may express our deepest desires for healing, abundance, joy, and peace in everything from our bodies and lives to our relationships. And we may do so consciously, in the time and manner that we choose…

This is our relationship to the Divine Matrix. We’re given the power to imagine, dream, and feel life’s possibilities from within the Matrix itself so that it can reflect back to us what we’ve created. …The language of consciousness appears to be the universal experience of emotion. We already know how to love, hate, fear, and forgive. Recognizing that these feelings are actually the instructions that program the Divine Matrix, we can hone our skills to better understand how to bring joy, healing, and peace to our lives.”

For more about the nature of reality and the way in which the concept of the Divine Matrix ties into that reality see the Understanding Reality Course 



The Frontiers of Science

The following is a view of “Ultimate Reality” from the frontiers of science.  It is from the preface and prologue to The Field — the quest for the secret force of the universe — by Lynne McTaggart.

Quantum Field - source of everything

The Quantum Field connects everything.

“Our current scientific story is more than three hundred years old, a construction largely based on the discoveries of Isaac Newton – a universe in which all matter moves within three-dimensional space and time according to certain fixed laws. The Newtonian vision describes a reliable place inhabited by well-behaved and easily identifiable matter. The world view arising from these discoveries is also bolstered by the philosophical implications of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, with its suggestion that survival is available only to the genetically rugged individual. These, in their essence, are stories that idealize separateness. From the moment we are born, we are told that for every winner there must be a loser. From that constricted vision we have fashioned our world.

The Field tells a radically new scientific story. The latest chapter of that story written by a group of largely unknown frontier scientific explorers, suggests that at our essence we exist as a unity, a relationship – utterly interdependent, the parts affecting the whole at every moment…

Dozens of scientists in prestigious areas around the world have demonstrated that all matter exists in a vast quantum web of connection and that an information transfer is constantly going on between living things and their environment. Still others have produced evidence suggesting that consciousness is a substance outside the confines of our body. The brain and DNA, always assumed to be the body’s central conductors, should more properly be considered transducers—which transmit, receive from, and ultimately interpret quantum information picked up from the Field. Even our current understanding of time as flowing in a single direction has been exposed in orthodox circles as an incomplete human construct that may have to be drastically revised.

Prologue – The Coming Revolution

We are poised on the brink of a revolution – a revolution as daring and profound as Einstein’s discovery of relativity. At the very frontier of science new ideas are emerging that challenge everything we believe about how our world works and how we define ourselves. Discoveries are being made that prove what religion has always espoused: that human beings are far more extraordinary than an assemblage of flesh and bones. At its most fundamental, this new science answers questions that have perplexed scientists for hundreds of years. At its most profound, this is a science of the miraculous.

This world of the separate should have been laid waste once and for all by the discovery of quantum physics in the early part of the twentieth century. As the pioneers of quantum physics peered into the very heart of matter, they were astounded by what they saw. The tiniest bits of matter weren’t even matter, as we know it, not even a set something, but sometimes one thing, sometimes something quite different. And even stranger, they were often many possible things all at the same time. But most significantly, these subatomic particles had no meaning in isolation, but only in relationship with everything else. At its most elemental, matter couldn’t be chopped up into self-contained little units, but was completely indivisible. You could only understand the universe as a dynamic web of interconnection. Things once in contact remained always in contact through all space and all time. Indeed, time and space themselves appeared to be arbitrary constructs, no longer applicable at this level of the world. Time and space as we know them did not, in fact, exist. All that appeared, as far as the eye could see, was one long landscape of the here and now.

The pioneers of quantum physics – Erwin Schrodinger, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr and Wolfgang Pauli – had some inkling of the metaphysical territory they had trespassed into. If electrons were connected everywhere at once, this implied something profound about the nature of the world at large. They turned to classic philosophical texts in their attempt to grasp the deeper truth about the strange subatomic world they were observing. Pauli examined psychoanalysis and archetypes and the Qabbalah; Bohr, the Tao and Chinese philosophy; Schrodinger, Hindu philosophy; and Heisenberg, the Platonic theory of ancient Greece.3 Nevertheless, a coherent theory of the spiritual implications of quantum physics remained beyond their grasp. Niels Bohr hung a sign on his door saying ‘Philosophers keep out. Work in progress.’

And what of us?  Suddenly, we had grown central to every physical process, but no one had fully acknowledged this. The quantum pioneers had discovered that our involvement with matter was crucial. Subatomic particles existed in all possible states until disturbed by us – by observing or measuring – at which point, they’d settle down, at long last, into something real. Our observation – our human consciousness – was utterly central to this process of subatomic flux actually becoming some set thing, but we weren’t in any of the mathematics of Heisenberg or Schrodinger. They realized that we were somehow key, but they didn’t know how to include us. As far as science was concerned, we were still on the outside looking in.

They also discovered that we were made of the same basic material. On our most fundamental level, living beings, including human beings, were packets of quantum energy constantly exchanging information with this inexhaustible energy sea. Living things emitted a weak radiation, and this was the most crucial aspect of biological processes. Information about all aspects of life, from cellular communication to the vast array of controls of DNA, was relayed through an information exchange on the quantum level. Even our minds, that other supposedly so outside of the laws of matter, operated according to quantum processes. Thinking, feeling – every higher cognitive function – had to do with quantum information pulsing simultaneously through our brains and body. Human perception occurred because of interactions between the subatomic particles of our brains and the quantum energy sea. We literally resonated with our world.

Their discoveries were extraordinary and heretical. In a stroke, they had challenged many of the most basic laws of biology and physics. What they may have uncovered was no less than the key to all information processing and exchange in our world, from the communication between cells to perception of the world at large. They’d come up with answers to some of the most profound questions in biology about human morphology and living consciousness. Here, in so-called ‘dead’ space, possibly lay the very key to life itself.

Most fundamentally, they had provided evidence that all of us connect with each other and the world at the very undercoat of our being. Through scientific experiment they’d demonstrated that there may be such a thing as a life force flowing through the universe – what has variously been called collective consciousness or, as theologians have termed it, the Holy Spirit. They provided a plausible explanation of all those areas that over the centuries mankind has had faith in but no solid evidence of or adequate accounting for, from the effectiveness of alternative medicine and even prayer to life after death. They offered us, in a sense, a science of religion…

These ideas were the stuff of treason. In many cases, these scientists have had to fight a rearguard action against an entrenched and hostile establishment. Their investigations have gone on for thirty years, largely unacknowledged or suppressed, but not because of the quality of the work. The scientists, all from credible top-ranking institutions —Princeton University, Stanford University, top institutions in Germany and France – have produced impeccable experimentation. Nevertheless, their experiments have attacked a number of tenets held to be sacred and at the very heart of modern science. They did not fit the prevailing scientific view of the world – the world as machine. Acknowledging these new ideas would require scrapping much of what modern science believes in and, in a sense, starting over from scratch. The old guard was having none of it. It did not fit the world view and so it must be wrong.

Nevertheless, it is too late. The revolution is unstoppable. The scientists who have been highlighted in The Field are merely a few of the pioneers, a small representation of a larger movement.  Many others are right behind them, challenging, experimenting, modifying their views, engaged in the work that all true explorers engage in. Rather than dismissing this information as not fitting in with the scientific view of the world, orthodox science will have to begin adapting its world view to suit. It is time to relegate Newton and Descartes to their proper places, as prophets of a historical view that has now been surpassed. Science can only be a process of understanding our world and ourselves, rather than a fixed set of rules for all time, and with the ushering in of the new, the old must often be discarded.”

For more information on how the Quantum Field underlies Ultlimate Reality and echoes the teachings of many other wisdom traditions see the Understanding Reality Course.



Who Are We?

From Chapter 1 of The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment by Thaddeus Golas:

Who and What are We?

                      Who are We?

“Who are we?  We are equal beings and the universe is our relations with each other. The universe is made of one kind of entity: each one is alive, each determines the course of his own existence…  The universe is made of one kind of whatever-it-is, which cannot be defined.  For our purpose, it isn’t necessary to try to define it.  All we need to do is assume that there is only one kind of whatever-it-is, and see if it leads to a reasonable explanation for the world as we know it.

The basic function of each being is expanding and contracting.  Expanded beings are permeative; contracted beings are dense and impermeative.  Therefore each of us, alone or in combination, may appear as space, energy, or mass, depending on the ratio of expansion to contraction chosen, and what kind of vibrations each of us expresses by alternating expansion and contraction.  Each being controls his own vibrations.

A completely expanded being is space.  Since expansion is permeative, we can be in the “same space” with one or more other expanded beings.  In fact, it is possible for all the entities in the universe to be one space. We experience expansion as awareness, comprehension, understanding, or whatever we wish to call it.  When we are completely expanded, we have a feeling of total awareness, of being one with all life.  At that level we have no resistance to any vibrations or interactions of other beings.  It is timeless bliss, with unlimited choice of consciousness, perception, and feeling.

Space is a level of experience that any of us can reach, but it is difficult to talk about on our present plane precisely because it is unlimited.  It is that which chooses limits and makes definitions.  We might say: all experiences are available to the One Mind, and the One Mind is all of us or any of us at the highest level of expansion. Or we might theorize: God could not create anything more limited than Himself that would persist, but if He duplicates Himself, He can enjoy a persistent universe.  Each entity, therefore, is a duplicate of God, “made in His image.”

It doesn’t matter what words we use: we exist and the universe exists, and it is possible to test this expansion-contraction idea within the limited scope of what is real to us as human beings, especially in atomic and subatomic studies.

When a being is totally contracted, he is a mass particle, completely imploded.  To the degree that he is contracted, a being is unable to be in the same space with others, so contraction is felt as fear, pain, unconsciousness, ignorance, hatred, evil, and a whole host of strange feelings.  At an extreme he has the feeling of being completely insane, of resisting everyone and everything, of being unable to choose the content of his consciousness.  Of course, these are just the feelings appropriate to mass vibration levels, and he can get out of them at any time by expanding, by letting go of all resistance to what he thinks, sees, or feels.

When a being is alternating expansion and contraction, he is energy.  My guess is that at the middie point, fifty percent expansion and fifty percent contraction, a being would be logical, non-subjective, egoless, and predictable.  This may be the “zero” which is one – side of energy equations in physics, as well as the “ego-death” we go through in expanding to higher levels of awareness.

It is important to note that energy is not a quantity of anything “objective.”  Energy, like space and matter, is what a lot of live beings are doing.  Energy beings usually react to their neighbors in a way that is often predictable and apparently automatic, like falling dominoes.  While relating to space beings, energy beings will appear to be high, vibrating rapidly, with a sense of increasing subjective freedom.  Oriented to mass beings, they will be low energy, vibrating more slowly with a growing feeling of subjective compulsion and disorder.

The universe is an infinite harmony of vibrating beings in an elaborate range of expansion-contraction ratios, frequency modulations, and so forth.

There is a particular set of feelings and ideas that goes with every variation, every combination, every vibration level.  There is also a different perception of how other beings are relating from every different viewpoint.  The thought of these possibilities is so staggering, trying to contain them in writing is so ridiculous, that it is hard for me to move my pen any further.  However, what we are after is to isolate some basic attitudes that will recover awareness of our freedom to move around in this maze—or go straight to the top.

What we need to remember is that there is nobody here but us chickens.  The entire universe is made of beings just like ourselves.  Every particle in every atom is a live being.  Every molecule or cell is a tribe of beings.  Energy is a large number of us vibrating together.  Space is an infinite number of our brothers and sisters in perfect bliss.

There is no important difference between live and dead matter, since both are made up of live entities.  Not only is mass convertible into energy, but energy is convertible into space, and vice versa.  It is our own withdrawal from awareness, our own mass condition, that makes us see our brothers and sisters as objective matter, energy, and space.  We always have the experiences and perceptions appropriate to our vibration level.

The same rules apply to all of us.  The rules do not come from anywhere outside ourselves.  They come from the truth that we are all equal, we all have the same range of possible behavior and experience.  We are free to do anything we want to do, within the necessary laws of our relations as equal beings.  And love must be the first law. Love is the action of being in the same space with other beings, which means that love is real, as real as we are.  Love is not a limited idea, it is something we do, ultimately with our whole selves.

Perhaps many of us do not like it where we are in the universe now, but we can all be certain that we got where we are by our own decisions to expand in love or withdraw from it.  The kind of brain and body you have, the family and society, the time in history you were born into, all these and more were determined by you yourself, by your degree of expansion, by your willingness to love.  No one did anything to you.  No one forced you. There is absolute justice in the experience that each of us is having every second of the day.  In one sense we can all relax, because nothing is secret, nothing is lost, nothing is forgotten, no one is abandoned.”

For more on who you are and Ultimate Reality see the Understanding Reality Course.



Reality and Personal Beliefs

From Chapter 2 of The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts:

How beliefs shape your reality

        The Nature of Personal Reality

You form the fabric of your experience through your own beliefs and expectations. These personal ideas about yourself and the nature of reality will affect your thoughts and emotions. You take your beliefs about reality as truth, and often do not question them.  They seem self- explanatory.  They appear in your mind as statements of fact, far too obvious for examination.

Therefore they are accepted without question too often. They are not recognized as beliefs about reality, but are instead considered characteristics of reality itself.  Frequently such ideas appear indisputable, so much a part of you that it does not occur to you to speculate on their validity.  They become invisible assumptions, but they nevertheless color and form your personal experience.

Some people, for example, do not question their religious beliefs but except them as fact. Others find it comparatively easy to recognize such inner assumptions when they appear in a religious context, but are blind to them in other areas. It is far simpler to recognize your own beliefs in regard to religion, politics or similar subjects, than it is to pinpoint your deepest beliefs about yourself and who and what you are — particularly in relationship with your own life.

Many individuals are completely blind to their own beliefs about themselves, and the nature of reality… They grew up believing that the conscious mind was relatively powerless, that adult experience was set in the days of infancy.  These concepts themselves set up artificial divisions.  People learned that they should not be aware of “subconscious” material.

Each person experiences a unique reality, different from any other individual’s.  This reality springs outward from the inner landscape of thoughts, feelings, expectations and beliefs.  If you believe that the inner self works against you rather than for you, then you hamper its functioning – or rather, you force it to behave in a certain way because of your beliefs.

The conscious mind is meant to make clear judgments about your position in physical reality. Often false beliefs will prevent it from making these, for the egotistically held ideas will cloud its clear vision.  Your beliefs can be like fences that surround you.  You must first recognize the existence of such barriers – you must see them or you will not even realize that you are not free, simply because you will not see beyond the fences.  They will represent the boundaries of your experience. There is one belief, however, that destroys artificial barriers to perception, an expanding belief that automatically pierces false and inhibiting ideas.  Now, separately:

The Self Is Not Limited.

That statement is a statement of fact. It exists regardless of your belief or disbelief in it. Following this concept is another:  There Are No Boundaries or Separations of the Self. Those that you experience are the result of false beliefs. Following this is the idea that I have already mentioned:  You Make Your Own Reality…

I told you that the self was not limited, yet surely you think that your self stops where your skin meets space, that you are inside your skin.  Period.  Yet your environment is an extension of yourself.  It is the body of your experience, coalesced in physical form.  The inner self forms the objects that you know as surely and automatically as it forms your finger or your eye.

Your environment is the physical picture of your thoughts, emotions and beliefs made visible.  Since your thoughts, emotions and beliefs move through space and time, you therefore affect physical conditions separate from you. Consider the spectacular framework of your body just from the physical standpoint. You perceive it as solid, as you perceive all other physical matter; yet the more matter is explored the more obvious it becomes that within it energy takes on specific shape (in the form of organs, cells, molecules, atoms, electrons), each less physical than the last, each combining in mysterious gestalt to form matter.

The atoms within your body spin.  There is constant commotion and activity.  The flesh that seemed so solid turns out to be composed of swiftly moving particles – often orbiting each other – in which great exchanges of energy continually occur. The stuff, the space outside of your body, is composed of the same elements, but in different proportions. There is a constant physical interchange between the structure you call your body and the space outside it; chemical interactions, basic exchanges without which life as you know it would be impossible…

You are in physical existence to learn and understand that your energy, translated into feelings, thoughts and emotions, causes all experience.  There are no exceptions.  Once you understand this you have only to learn to examine the nature of your beliefs, for these will automatically cause you to feel and think in certain fashions. Your emotions follow your beliefs. It is not the other way around.

I would like you to recognize your own beliefs in several areas.  You must realize that any idea you accept as truth is a belief that you hold.  You must, then, take the next step and say, “It is not necessarily true, even though I believe it.”  You will, I hope, learn to disregard all beliefs that imply basic limitations.  Later we will discuss some of the reasons for your beliefs, but for now I simply want you to recognize them.  I am going to list some limiting false beliefs. If you find yourself agreeing with any of them, then recognize this as an area in which you must personally work:

1.  Life is a valley of sorrows.

2.  The body is inferior. As a vehicle of the soul it is automatically degraded, tinged.

You may feel that the flesh is inherently bad or evil, that its appetites are wrong.  Christians may find the body deplorable, thinking that the soul descended into it – “descent” automatically meaning the change from a higher or better condition to one that is worse. Followers of Eastern religions often feel it their duty, also, to deny the flesh, to rise above it, so to speak, into a state where nothing is desired.  (“Emptiness” in Taoism, for instance.) Using a different vocabulary, they still believe that earth experience is not desirable in itself.

3.  I am helpless before circumstances that I cannot control.

4.  I am helpless because my personality and character were formed in infancy, and I am at the mercy of my past.

5.  I am helpless because I am at the mercy of events from past lives in other incarnations, over which I now have no control.  I must be punished, or I am punishing myself for unkindnesses done to others in past lives.  I must accept the negative aspects of my life because of my karma.

6.  People are basically bad, and out to get me.

7.  I have the truth and no one else has.  Or, my group has the truth and no other group has.

8.  I will grow frailer, sicker, and lose my powers as I grow old.

9.  My existence is dependent upon my experience in flesh. When my body dies my consciousness dies with it.

Now, that was a rather general list of false beliefs.  Here is a more specific list of more intimate beliefs, any of which you may have personally about yourself:

1.  I am sickly, and always have been.

2.  There is something wrong with money.  People who have it are greedy, less-spiritual than those who are poor.  They are unhappier, and snobs.

3.  I am not creative. I have no imagination.

4.  I can never do what I want to do.

5.  People dislike me.

6.  I am fat.

7.  I always have bad luck.

These are all beliefs held by many people. Those who have them will meet them in experience.  Physical data will always seem to reinforce the beliefs, therefore, but the beliefs formed the reality.  We are going to attempt to knock down such limiting concepts. First of all, you must realize that no one can change your beliefs for you, nor can they be forced upon you from without.  You can indeed change them for yourself, however, with knowledge and application.

Look about you.  Your entire physical environment is the materialization of your beliefs. Your sense of joy, sorrow, health or illness – all of these are also caused by your beliefs.  If you believe that a given situation should make you unhappy, then it will, and the unhappiness will then reinforce the condition.

Within you is the ability to change your ideas about reality and about yourself, to create a personal living experience that is fulfilling to yourself and others…Much has been written about the nature and importance of suggestion.  One of the current ideas in vogue holds that you are constantly at the mercy of suggestion.  Your own conscious beliefs are the most important suggestions that you receive.  All other ideas are rejected or accepted according to whether or not you believe they are true, in line with the steady conscious chattering that goes on within your mind most of the day – the suggestions given to you by yourself…

The false beliefs must be weeded out so that the conscious mind can become aware of its source once again, and open to the inner channels of splendor and power available to it.  Often you quite consciously decide to bury a thought or an idea that might cause you to alter your behavior, because it does not seem to fit in with limiting ideas that you already hold. Listen to your own train of thought as you go about your days.  What suggestions and ideas are you giving yourself?  Realize that these will be materialized in your personal experience.

Many quite limiting ideas will pass without scrutiny under the guise of goodness.  You may feel quite virtuous, for example, in hating evil, or what seems to you to be evil; but if you find yourself concentrating upon either hatred or evil you are creating it.  If you are poor you may feel quite self-righteous in your financial condition, looking with scorn upon those who are wealthy, telling yourself that money is wrong and so reinforcing the condition of poverty.  if you are ill you may find yourself dwelling upon the misery of your condition, and bitterly envying those who are healthy, bemoaning your state.- and therefore perpetuating it through your thoughts.

If you dwell upon limitations, then you will meet them. You must create a new picture in your mind.  It will differ from the picture your physical senses may show you at any given time, precisely in those areas where changes are required. Hatred of war will not bring peace – another example.  Only love of peace will bring about those conditions.

I quite realize that many of my statements will contradict the beliefs of those of you who accept the idea that the conscious mind is relatively powerless, and that the answers to problems lie hidden beneath…I am not telling you to inhibit thoughts or feelings.  I am asking that you become aware of those you have.  Realize that they form your reality.  Concentrate upon those that give you the results that you want.

If you find all of this difficult, you can also examine your physical reality in all of its aspects. Realize that your physical experience and environment is the materialization of your beliefs.  If you find great exuberance, health, effective work, abundance, smiles on the faces of those you meet, then take it for granted that your beliefs are beneficial.  If you see a world that is good, people that like you, take it for granted, again, that your beliefs are beneficial.  But if you find poor health, a lack of meaningful work, a lack of abundance, a world of sorrow and evil, then assume that your beliefs are faulty and begin examining them.

We will later discuss the nature of mass reality, but for now we are dwelling upon the personal aspects.  The main point I wanted to make in this chapter was that your conscious beliefs are extremely important, and that you are not at the mercy of events or causes that dwell far beneath your awareness.”

For more on how your beliefs create your reality see the Understanding Reality Course.



The Nature of Personal Reality

Personal Reality Caused by Beleifs

The Nature of Personal Reality

From the preface of The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts

“Experience is the product of the mind, the spirit, conscious thoughts and feelings, and unconscious thoughts and feelings.  These together form the reality that you know. You are hardly at the mercy of a reality, therefore, that exists apart from yourself, or is thrust upon you. You are so intimately connected with the physical events composing your life experience that often you cannot distinguish between the seemingly material occurrences and the thoughts, expectations and desires that gave them birth.

If there are strongly negative characteristics present in your most intimate thoughts, if these actually form bars between you and a more full life, still you often look through the bars, not seeing them. Until they are recognized they are impediments. Even obstacles have a reason for being.  If they are your own, then it is up to you to recognize them and discover the circumstances behind their existence.

Your conscious thoughts can be great clues in uncovering such obstructions. You are not nearly as familiar with your own thoughts as you may imagine. They can escape from you like water through your fingers, carrying with them vital nutrients that spread across the landscape of your psyche and all too often carrying sludge and mud that clog up the channels of experience and creativity.

An examination of your conscious thoughts will tell you much about the state of your inner mind, your intentions and expectations, and will often lead you to a direct confrontation with challenges and problems.  Your thoughts, studied, will let you see where you are going. They point early to the nature of physical events. What exists physically, exists first in thought and feeling.  There is no other rule.

You have the conscious mind for a good reason. You are not the mercy of unconscious drives unless you consciously acquiesce to them.  Your present feelings and expectations can always be used to check your progress.  If you do not like your experience, then you must change the nature of your conscious thoughts and expectations.  You must alter the kind of messages that you are sending through your thoughts to your own body, to friends and associates.

Each thought has a result. The same kind of thought, habitually repeated, will seem to have a more or less permanent effect.  If you like the effect then you seldom examine the thought. If you find yourself assailed by physical difficulties, however, you begin to wonder what is wrong. Sometimes you blame others, your own background, or a previous life — if you accept reincarnation.  You may hold God or the devil responsible, or you may simply say, “That is life,” and accept the negative experience as a necessary portion of your lot.

You may finally come to a half-understanding of the nature of reality and wail, “I believe that I have caused these ill effects, but I find myself unable to reverse them.” If this is the case, then regardless of what you have told yourself thus far, you still do not believe that you are the creator of your own experience.  As soon as you recognize this fact you can begin at once to alter those conditions that cause you dismay or dissatisfaction.

No one forces you to think in any particular manner. In the past you may have learned to consider things pessimistically.  You may believe that pessimism is more realistic than optimism.  You may even suppose, and many do, that sorrow is ennobling, a sign of deep spiritualism, a mark of apartness, a necessary mental garb of saints and poets. Nothing could be further from the truth…

Man has been endowed, and has endowed himself, with a conscious mind to direct the nature, shape and form of his creations.  All deep aspirations and unconscious motivations, all unspoken drives, rise up for the approval or disapproval of the conscious mind, and await its direction.  Only when it abdicates its functions does it allow itself to become swayed by “negative” experience.  Only when it refuses responsibility does it finally find itself at the seeming mercy of events over which it appears to have no control.

Books on positive thinking alone, while sometimes beneficial, usually do not take into consideration the habitual nature of negative feelings, aggressions, or repressions.  Often these are merely swept under the rug.  The authors instead tell you to be positive, compassionate, strong, optimistic, filled with joy and enthusiasm, without telling you what to do to get out of the predicament you may be in, and without understanding the vicious circle that may seem to entrap you.  Such books, again, while sometimes of value, do not explain how thoughts and emotions cause reality.  They do not take into consideration the multidimensional aspects of the self or the fact that ultimately each personality; while following definite general laws, must still find and follow his or her own way of adapting these to personal circumstances.

If you are in poor health, you can remedy it.  If your personal relationships are unsatisfactory you can change them for the better.  If you are in poverty; you can instead find yourself surrounded by abundance. Whether or not you realize it, you have pursued your present course with determination, using many resources, for ends or reasons that at one time made sense to you.  You may say, “Poor health makes no sense to me,” or, “A fractured relationship with my mate is hardly what I was after,” or, “I certainly have not been pursuing poverty after all my hard work.”

If you were born poor, or born sick, then it certainly seems to you that these circumstances were thrust upon you. Yet they were not, and to some extent or another they can be changed for the better. This does not mean that effort is not required, and determination.  It does mean, that you are not powerless to change events and that each of you, regardless of your position, status, circumstances or physical condition, is in control of your own personal experience.

You see and feel what you expect to see and feel.  The world as you know it is a picture of your expectations.  The world as the race of man knows it is the materialization en masse of your individual expectations.  As children come from your physical tissues, so is the world your joint creation.

You are a creator translating your expectations into physical form.  The world is meant to serve as a reference point. The exterior appearance is a replica of inner desire.  You can change your personal world.  You do change it without knowing it.  You have only to use your ability consciously. To examine the nature of your thoughts and feelings and project those with which you basically agree.

They coalesce into the events with which you are so intimately familiar.  The point [is] that all healings are the result of the acceptance of one basic fact: That matter is formed by those inner qualities that give it vitality, that structure follows expectation, that matter at any time can be completely changed by the activation of the creative faculties inherent in all consciousness.”

For more about the way you create your reality see the Understanding Reality Course.



The New Age and Krishnamurti

From the “The Roots of the New Age” — and  the Krishnamurti entry in Wikipedia — 

New Age History

The New Age and Krishnamurti

“The New Age movement is not entirely “New!”  Its philosophy is rooted in ancient traditions, often based on mystical experiences, each within a different context. There have always been people within “primitive” societies who were looked upon as possessing special knowledge and power.  Medicine men, or shamans, had undergone a spontaneous catharsis, or were initiated and felt called upon to maintain contact with the spirit world for the clan.

The occult tradition seems so tremendously powerful that it cannot be suppressed.  It develops in cycles of flourishing and decline – each renaissance with a fresh approach, adapted to the spirit of the times. Renewed interest in these spiritual, religious and magical traditions had a tremendous impact on the minds of man. The latest revival in a popularized form is that of the New Age movement in the late sixties.  But this movement is really the inheritor of ideas fostered and passed down through numerous esoteric traditions including the Grecian mystery schools and philosophy, the Christian mystics, Gnosticism, Jewish mysticism and the Kabbalah, Alchemy, Freemasonry, the Rosicrucians and other mystical orders not to mention several schools of eastern thought and mysticism.

The Oriental Renaissance of the 19th century

The philosophers of the 18th century were disenchanted with the state of civilization they saw around them. The study of other cultures became popular.  The fascination with the Orient gathered momentum in the late 18th century. Western scholars had begun to study Sanskrit in the 17th century. But it was not until the 19th century that translations of Indian scriptures became available in the West.

For the first time Oriental religious philosophy became generally accessible. It led to a veritable Oriental Renaissance.  The philosophy and way of thought contained in the Eastern scriptures astounded the Western cultural elite towards the middle of the 19th century and influenced such philosophers and writers as Schopenhauer, Goethe, Heine, Nietzsche, Shelley, Emerson, Baudelaire and de Balzac.

A greater respect grew for Eastern religions now that their great works appeared in print.  In 1785 Wilkins published the Bhagavad Gita.  Translations of the Rig Veda, Mahabharata, Upanishads, Vishnu Purana and Lotus sutra followed, along with an “Introduction à l’Histoire du Buddhisme Indien” by Burnouf.  The spiritual approach of the re-discovered religions was felt as a relief from the prevalent Christian dogmatism.  The idea emerged of the unity behind all religions. Some of these ideas found their way in the Christian Science and New Thought movements as well as the spiritualism movement of 19th century.


It was Madame H.P.Blavatsky (HPB for insiders) who forged the European esoteric tradition, Spiritualism and the Oriental Renaissance into one coherent system that took on aspects of a religion.  She provided it with a secret doctrine, a martyr (herself), a mysterious origin and finally, but not in the least, she gave it the form of a (semi-religious) fraternity…  Thus she presented a remarkable and revolutionary concept of life in the universe.  

Mme Blavatsky gave mankind a grand vision of the universe as opposed to the corset of the narrow-minded dogmatic outlook of Christianity at the time.  It was generally believed then that creation took place some six thousand years ago.  She countered by postulating that it was billions of years ago and that mankind lived for millions of years on Earth.  She introduced also the concept of a holistic universe.  The popularity of present-day ideas of reincarnation and karma – now household words – can be traced back to her.

She found a worthy successor in Annie Besant in 1889, a woman of extraordinary talent and a great orator.  Historian Arthur Nethercott writes: “During her eighty-five years Annie Besant lived many lives, some of them so incredible that it seems impossible they were lived at all.” Besides giving fresh impetuous to Theosophy, she was also to give India back its respect for its own culture.  She was a powerful force in the campaign for Indian Home Rule before Gandhi and later Nehru took over.  She is also known to have taken care of the education of a very special Indian boy Jiddu Krishnamurti .  

Jiddu Krishnamurti (May 11, 1895 – February 17, 1986) was an Indian writer and speaker on philosophical and spiritual subjects.  His subject matter included: psychological revolution, the nature of the mind, meditation, human relationships, and bringing aboutpositive change in society.  He constantly stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasized that such revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social.  Krishnamurti was born into a Brahmin family in what was then colonial India.  In early adolescence, he had a chance encounter with prominent occultist and high-ranking theosophist Charles Leadbeater in the grounds of the Theosophical Society headquarters at Advarin Madras.

He was subsequently raised under the tutelage of Annie Bessant and Leadbeater, leaders of the Society at the time, who believed him to be a “vehicle” for an expected World Teacher.  As a young man, he disavowed this idea and dissolved the worldwide organization (the Order of the Star) established to support it.  He claimed allegiance to no nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, and spent the rest of his life traveling the world, speaking to large and small groups and individuals.  He authored many books, among them The First and Last Freedom, The Only Revolution, and Krishnamurti’s Notebook.

 According to Krishnamurti, many problems in the world such as poverty, war, the nuclear threat, and other unfortunate circumstances, have their roots in our thinking.  In his view, as we live and behave according to our thinking so wars and governments are a result of that thinking. We each have our own beliefs, conclusions and experiences, to which we cling, thereby isolating ourselves from others.  Self-centered activity is expressed outwardly as nationalism and religious intolerance, creating a divided world, in which we are willing to kill for the sake of belief. Understanding our relationship with the world crisis is necessary to understand ourselves.  

Krishnamurti has come to be seen as an exemplar of those spiritual teachers who disavow formal rituals and dogma.  His conception of truth as a “pathless land,” with the possibility of immediate liberation, is mirrored in teachings as diverse as those of EST, Bruce Lee, and the Dalai Lama.  Krishnamurti was acquainted with, and (by their admission) influenced the works of, the mythologist Joseph Campbell, artists Jackson Pollock and Beatrice Wood, and counter-culture author Allan Watts. Eckhart Tolle, author and speaker on spiritual subjects, and well-known self-help lecturer/author Deepak Chopra, both claimed Krishnamurti as one of their influences.

New Age in America

As we have seen Oriental religion and the European occult traditions had made a great impact on the intellectual elite of America in the nineteenth century.  The leaders who stood at the craddle of the birth of the nation were influenced by Masonic, Spiritualistic and Rosicrucian thought. “A New Order of the Age begins” proclaims the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States. Eight signatories of the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons, amongst whom Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, as were sixteen subsequent presidents.

Prominent American writers, who became known as the Transcendentalists, were deeply influenced by Eastern thought.  Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was one of the great admirers of Oriental religious classics, notably the Bhagavad Gita.  His secretary, Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden, a source of inspiration for hippies a century later.

New Age was primarily a movement amongst the younger generation in the late sixties that demanded to play a greater part in all aspects of society.  Traditional religious concepts of God and Love were too narrow to accommodate the overwhelming experiences they had on their psychedelic trips.  Transcendence, self-realization, yoga, meditation, all part of existing traditions, were being rediscovered and practiced.

Originally it had been given the name: the Age of Aquarius to signify the new era of spiritual enfoldment as foretold in astrology.  In the early seventies, when the movement was well on its way, the name New Age was adopted.”

For more on New Age thinking see the Understanding Reality Course.



Mystics vs Authoritarians

Mystics and Authoritarians

          Mystics vs. Authoritarians

Mystic: “A person who seeks and or experiences through contemplation, surrender or other means to obtain unity with or understanding of ultimate truth or absolute reality.  A person who has experienced a personal (perhaps life changing) encounter with a sense of divine truth or ultimate reality.”

Authoritarian: “A person who is characterized by or favors obedience to external authority, as against individual freedom in the pursuit and experience of truth.  A person who believes contact with divine or ultimate reality only comes through the guidance and intervention of external authority figures, rituals or “generally accepted” sources of revelation.

Down through the ages tension has always existed between the authoritarian and mystical viewpoint regarding the source of ultimate truth.  On one side. authoritarians point to external sources of authority including “external” God, King, Emperor, constitution, tradition, organization, book (e.g. Bible or Koran), ritual, process (e.g. democratic), method (e.g. scientific), religious authority, guru or spiritual leader as the ultimate source of knowledge or truth.  They do not trust or condone the personal experience of the individual as a reliable source of knowledge or way of knowing ultimate truth.  In fact they fear the individual’s experience as a descent into chaos, confusion, heresy, sinfulness or simply an undermining of their authority and control.

On the other side, we have the mystics who seek and value a personal and “internal” connection with or understanding of God and truth.  Some have experienced such a connection (or revelation) and feel compelled to share these insights with others.  Ironically these individuals sometimes become external authority figures to their authoritarian followers.  The irony here is that these “awakened” individuals are usually only trying to encourage their followers to seek the same experience of personal “enlightenment”, “salvation” or  union with  truth rather than holding themselves up as a replacement for that reality.

Authoritarians generally seek positions of authority and become the political, religious and social “establishment.”  Mystics are most often the “outsiders” and individualists in society.  Spiritual teachers like Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tsu, the Jewish Prophets, Abraham, Moses, St. Paul, St. Francis of Assisi and Ghandi were all mystics who encountered divine truth on a personal level and sought to challenge or change the oppressive authoritarian regimes of their day.  They taught their followers a more authentic, internal and personal way of connecting to God and truth.

For more on the different approachs to “Truth” by mystics and authoritarians see the Understanding Reality Course.

© 2012-2013 All rights reserved.



The Roots of Taoism

As told by Benjamin Hoff in “The Te of Piglet”

Taoism a Bridge to Reality

             The Roots of Taoism

“Thousands of years ago, man lived in harmony with the rest of the natural world. Through what we would today call telepathy, he communicated the animals, plants, and other forms of life—none of which he considered “beneath” himself, only different, with different jobs to perform.  He worked side by side with earth angels and nature spirits, with whom he shared responsibility for taking care of the world.

The earth’s atmosphere was very different from what it is now, with a great deal more vegetation-supporting moisture.  A tremendous variety of vegetable, fruit, seed, and grain food was available. Because of such a diet, and a lack of unnatural strain, human life span was many times longer than what it is today.  The killing of animals for food or “sport” was unthinkable.  Man lived at peace with himself and the various life forms, whom he considered his teachers and friends.

But gradually at first, and then with increasing intensity, man’s Ego began to grow and assert itself. Finally, after it had caused many unpleasant incidents, the consensus was reached that man should go out into the world alone, to learn a necessary lesson.  The connections were broken.

On his own, feeling alienated from the world he had been created from, cut off from the full extent of its abundance, man was no longer happy.  He began to search for the happiness he had lost.  When he found something that reminded him of it, he tried to possess it and accumulate more thereby introducing Stress into his life.  But searching for lasting happiness and accumulating temporary substitutes for it brought him no satisfaction.

As he was no longer able to hear what the other forms of life were saying, he could only try to understand them through their actions, which he often misinterpreted.  Because he was no longer cooperating with the earth angels and nature spirits for the good of all, but was attempting to manipulate the earth forces for his benefit alone, plants began to shrivel and die.  With less vegetation to draw up and give off moisture, the planet’s atmosphere became drier, and deserts appeared.  A relatively small number of plant species survived, which grew smaller and tougher with passing time. Eventually they lost the radiant colors and abundant fruit of their ancestors.

Man’s life span began to shorten accordingly, and diseases appeared and spread.  Because of the decreasing variety of food available to him—and his growing insensitivity— man began to kill and eat his friends the animals.  They soon learned to flee from his approach and became increasingly shy and suspicious of human motives and behavior.  And so the separation grew.  After several generations, few people had any idea of what life had once been like.

As man became more and more manipulative of and violent toward the earth, and as his social and spiritual world narrowed to that of the human race alone, he became more and more manipulative of and violent toward his own kind.  Men began to kill and enslave each other, creating armies and empires, forcing those who looked, talked, thought, and acted differently from them to submit to what they thought was best.

Life became so miserable for the human race that, around two to three thousand years ago, perfected spirits began to be born on earth in human form, to teach the truths that had largely been forgotten.  But by then humanity had grown so divided, and so insensitive to the universal laws operating in the natural world, that those truths were only partially understood.

As time passed, the teachings of the perfected spirits were changed, for what one might call political reasons, by the all-too-human organizations that inherited them.  Those who came into prominence within the organizations wanted power over others.  They downplayed the importance of nonhuman life forms and eliminated from the teachings statements claiming that those forms had souls, wisdom, and divine presence and that the heaven they were in touch with was a state of Unity with the Divine that could be attained by anyone who put aside his ego and followed the universal laws. The power-hungry wanted their followers to believe that heaven was a place to which some people—and only people—went after death, a place that could be reached by those who had the approval of their organizations.  So not even the perfected spirits were able to restore the wholeness of truth, because of interference by the human ego.

Down through the centuries, accounts of the Great Separation, and of the Golden Age that existed before it, have been passed on by the sensitive and wise.  Today in the industrial West, they are classified as mere legends and myths—fantasies believed in by the credulous and unsophisticated, stories based only on imagination and emotion.  Despite the fact that quite a few people have seen and communicated with earth angels and nature spirits, and that more than one spiritual community has grown luscious fruits and vegetables by cooperating with them and following their instructions, descriptions of these beings are generally dismissed as “fairy tales.”  And, although colored and simplified accounts of the Great Separation can be found in the holy books of the world’s religions, it is doubtful that many followers of those religions strongly believe in them.

However, a number of pre-Separation skills, beliefs, and practices have been preserved.  On the North American continent, they are passed on in some of what remains of native teachings—those of the “Indians.”  In Europe they have largely died out, but traces of their influence can still be seen in such comparatively recent phenomena as stone circles and the marking of “ley lines” (called “dragon veins” by the Chinese)—channels along which earth energy is concentrated.  In Tibet, until the Communist invasion, ancient ways were preserved in Tibetan Buddhism, many of the secrets and practices of which predate Buddhism by thousands of years.  In Japan, they can be found in some of the rituals and beliefs of the Shinto (“spirit way”) folk religion.  In China, they have been passed on through Taoism.  And, despite violent opposition from China’s Communist government, they continue to be passed on today.

Briefly, Taoism is a way of living in harmony with Tao, the Way of the Universe, the character of which is revealed in the workings of the natural world.  Taoism could be called either a philosophy or a religion, or neither, since in its various forms it does not match up with Western ideas or definitions of either one.

In China, Taoism is what might be called the counterbalance of Confucianism, the codified, ritualized teachings of K’ung Fu-tse, or “Master Kung,” better known in the West as Confucius. Although Confucianism is not a religion in the Western sense, it could be said to bear a certain resemblance to Puritanical Christianity in its man-centered, nature-ignoring outlook, its emphasis on rigid conformity, and its authoritarian, no-non-sense attitude toward life.  Confucianism concerns itself mostly with human relations—with social and political rules and hierarchies.  Its major contributions have been in the areas of government, business, clan and family relations, and ancestor reverence.  Its most vital principles are Righteousness, Propriety, Benevolence, Loyalty, Good Faith, Duty, and Justice.  Briefly stated, Confucianism deals with the individual’s place within the group.

In contrast, Taoism deals primarily with the individual’s relationship to the world.  Taoism’s contributions have been mostly scientific, artistic, and spiritual.  From Taoism came Chinese science, medicine, gardening, landscape painting, and nature poetry.  Its key principles are Natural Simplicity, Effortless Action, Spontaneity, and Compassion.  The most easily noticed difference between Confucianism and Taoism is emotional, a difference in feeling: Confucianism is stern, regimented, patriarchal, often severe; Taoism is happy, gentle, childlike, and serene—like its favorite symbol, that of flowing water.

Taoism is classically viewed as the teachings of three men: Lao-Tsu (“Master Lao”), author of the major Taoist classic, the Tao Te Ching, which is said to have been written around twenty-five hundred years ago; Chuang-tsu (“Master Chuang”), author of several works and founder of a school of writers and philosophers during the Warring States period, approximately two thousand years ago; and the semi-legendary Yellow Emperor, who ruled over forty-five hundred years ago, and to whom are attributed various meditative, alchemical, and medicinal principles and practices. These three were the great organizers and communicators of Taoist thought, rather than its founders; for, as we have said, what is now known as Taoism began before any of them were born, in what Chuang- tsu called the Age of Perfect Virtue:

In the Age of Perfect Virtue, men lived among the animals and birds as members of one large family. There were no distinctions between “superior” and “inferior” to separate one man or species from another.  All retained their natural Virtue and lived in the state of pure simplicity…

In the Age of Perfect Virtue, wisdom and ability were not singled out as extraordinary.  The wise were seen merely as higher branches on humanity’s tree, growing a little closer to the sun.  People behaved correctly, without knowing that to be Righteousness and Propriety. They loved and respected each other, without calling that Benevolence. They were faithful and honest, without considering that to be Loyalty. They kept their word, without thinking of Good Faith. In their everyday conduct, they helped and employed each other, without considering Duty. They did not concern themselves with Justice, as there was no injustice. Living in harmony with themselves, each other, and the world, their actions left no trace, and so we have no physical record of their existence.

Ever since the Great Separation, Taoists have concerned themselves with attaining the state of Perfect Virtue, through discarding whatever prevents harmony with Tao.”

For more on the Ultimate Nature of Reality see the Understanding Reality Course.



Lao Tsu and Taoism

Lao Tzu Founder of Taoism

            Lao Tsu & Water Buffalo

Lao Tsu is one of the most important men in history.  During his life, Lao Tsu inspired many people, even the great philosopher Confucius, but he inspired even more people after his death. His teachings brought to public eye from his book The Tao Te Ching inspired followings of millions first throughout Asia, and eventually the world.   He has traditionally considered the founder of Taoism (pronounced “Daoism”). 

According to tradition, Lao Tsu lived in the 6th century BCE.  He was said to be an elder contemporary of Confuscious (551–479 BCE).  According to traditional biographies, he worked as the Keeper of the Archives for the royal court of Zhou. This allowed him broad access to the works of the Yellow Emperor and other classics of the time.  It is said Lao Tsu never opened a formal school, but he nonetheless attracted a large number of students and loyal disciples. There are numerous stories depicting Confucius consulting Lao Tsu. 

Lao Tsu grew weary of the moral decay of city life and noted the kingdom’s decline.  He ventured west to live as a hermit in the unsettled frontier riding a water buffalo according to legend.  At the western gate of the kingdom, he was recognized by a guard, Yinxi.  The sentry asked the old master to produce a record of his wisdom.  This is the legendary origin of the Tao Te Ching the founding document for Taoism.

The Tao Te Ching describes the Tao (or Dao) as the source and ideal of all existence: it is unseen, but not transcendent, immensely powerful yet supremely humble, being the root of all things…  The essence of Taoism is contained in the eighty- one chapters of the book -roughly 5,000 words- which have for 2,500 years provided one of the major underlying influences in Chinese thought and culture.

The Tao Te Ching was written in China roughly 2,500 years ago at about the same time when Buddha expounded the Dharma in India and Pythagoras taught in Greece. The Tao Te Ching is probably the most influential Chinese book of all times. Its 81 chapters have been translated into English more times than any other Chinese document. The Tao Te Ching provides the basis for the philosophical school of Taoism, which is an important pillar of Chinese thought. Taoism teaches that there is one undivided truth at the root of all things. It literally means:  Tao (the way); Te (strength/virtue); Ching (scripture).

Yin And Yang 

In Chinese philosophy, the rhythm of life, which pulsates through the universe, is the action of complementary principles Yin and Yang. The T’ai-Dhi diagram illustrates this principle. The symmetrical disposition of the dark Yin and the light Yang suggests cyclical changes.  Yin is the quiet, female, intuitive, receiving force that is associated with earth. The earth is the source of life; it provides us with what we need to survive. Yang is the strong, male, creative, giving force that is associated with heaven. The heaven above us is always in motion and brings about change.

The Tao counsels natural order and peace unfolding in all things: “Do not conquer the world with force, For force only causes resistance.  Thorns spring up when an army passes.  Years of misery follow a great victory.  Do only what needs to be done, without using violence.  It is not wise to dash about.  Shortening the breath causes stress.  Use too much energy, and you will soon be exhausted.  That is not the natural way.  Whatever works against Tao will not last long.”

In just this way, the Taoist sees value and virtue in all natural processes including the natural and effortless expressions of each human being.  This is the Tao at work in every part of creation.  While the Tao is behind every part of creation it is neveretheless mysterious and intangible.  The first few verses (Chapter 1) of the Tao Te Ching say it this way:

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

For more about Lao Tsu and Taoist teachings about the nature of reality see the Understanding Reality Course