Nothing real can be threatened
Nothing unreal exists;
Herein lies the peace of God
Jesus in ACIM
In February of 1985, I had a most intense experience, which at first seemed incredibly brutal but which I now see as a true spiritual turning point. I had been Sai Baba’s devotee, living a simple life as a Montessori teacher, residing by myself, spending six months of every year in India with Sai Baba. Life was beautiful. Then one night everything changed. It was Mahashivaratri in India, the holiest day of the year. I was staying in a Sai Baba center in California. We were scheduled to celebrate with an all-night bhajan (devotional singing) the following evening. I was fast asleep in a room adjoining the bhajan hall. It was 3:00 am. It could not have been a more auspicious time or setting.
Suddenly I was jolted awake by a threatening voice ordering, “Scream and I’ll kill you.” I felt a knife at my throat and saw a massive menacing figure looming over me. Still groggy, I instinctively screamed and to shut me up he pummeled me in the face with his fist till I was bruised and bleeding. He gagged me, tied me up and ripped off my pajamas. In total terror I cried out to Sai Baba to come and save me. In my heart of hearts I fully expected Baba to physically appear and dispel this horrendous nightmare. Baba did not come. And yet He did, though I did not realize it at the time. Even while I was being brutally raped, within me all fear and horror of the situation left. Quite inexplicably I became very calm and to my astonishment discovered a genuine compassion welling up in my heart for that confused soul who thought hurting another could somehow serve him.
As he was leaving, I managed a muffled, “God bless you.” He hissed back, “God hates me,” and disappeared into the night. I struggled to untie myself and went to get help. The police were called and the man caught. He had a history with abuse and had been in and out of jail, yet, this time something had changed for him. From his cell he made a considerable effort to get this message to me: “I am sorry I hurt you. Please pray for me.” So even in that violent scene God was present and the rapist too was affected. To my surprise, I could muster no anger toward the man. I found myself focusing not so much on my personal trauma as on the tragedy of the human condition that could lead to such a desperate state.
Although my body was badly beaten and bruised, there was little physical pain. However, I was traumatized and bewildered. I remember walking out at night feeling afraid that somebody might be lurking behind a bush. When anyone entered my room unexpectedly I became startled and jittery, feelings that were completely alien to me. In my being I felt tainted and my familiar sense of security and knowing that I was always in the protective hands of the Divine had been badly shaken.
My confusion centered entirely on Sai Baba. In my mind, Baba, in whom I had put complete trust and whom I regarded as my savior, had not helped me though I had desperately called out to Him. Why hadn’t He? I kept praying, “Why did You let this happen? Please help me understand.” As I was imploring thus, I distinctly heard Baba’s voice gently ask, “What happened to you?” “I was raped, brutalized, robbed and my very life was threatened,” came my angry response, “and I called out to You, but You did not come.” Again Baba asked, ever so tenderly, “What happened to you?”
That gentle voice pierced through the depths of my anguish and I suddenly realized that absolutely nothing had happened to the truth of me. I remembered one of my favorite passages in the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna taught Arjuna, “You are not this perishable body. Weapons cannot destroy you. Fire cannot incinerate you. Water cannot drown you. The raging tempest cannot blow you away. You are the indestructible, eternal Atma, the one Self.” My spirits soared as that mystical pronouncement shifted from a conceptual idea to a direct revelation. My bewilderment, fears and feelings of abandonment miraculously dissolved in the light of that profound realization. Far from failing me, Sai Baba had used this powerful experience to reveal the truth of who I am, the immortal Self. I realized that there is nothing in the universe that can ever really threaten me or hurt me in any way. I am invulnerable.
And yet that one realization did not satisfy me entirely. There were still some questions that remained unanswered. If nothing happened to me, was this ‘unreal’ experience God’s will? Why do I need to experience something unreal and then realize its unreality in order to be free? Could this experience have been avoided? If I was created to experience only God and God’s love as that is all that is real, how did I come to this unreal experience that seemed so very real and deeply agonizing? What is the source of unreality and what is its function? I wanted to find out why there was such a disparity between my experience and the truth. I wanted to uncover the cause behind my experience as that seemed the best way to discover a solution to its undoing both for myself and others.
Perhaps you would be content to believe that the whole incident was God’s will and an expression of God’s love. After all, isn’t everything that happens God’s will? When I prayed, ‘Swami, how could You let this happened to me?’ I obviously thought it was God’s will. But something just didn’t fit. There was simply no way I could see this as an expression of God’s love. Maybe this was not God’s will. What evidence did I really have that God willed me to be raped? I realized I didn’t have any substantial evidence and that my conclusions had no basis in fact. God didn’t say, ‘I willed that experience for you.’ That was a relief. It certainly helped me feel better about God.
If God had willed this, wouldn’t that make Him cruel? What kind of God would permit horrors such as what I’d just experienced to happen? If God created us as an extension of His joy, would He wish us to suffer? My thinking that God had something to do with what happened had put up a huge barrier to my love for God. Once I stopped needing to see Him as the cause, my love for Him resurfaced.
Instead of sticking to my conclusions about God as cause, I searched deeper. I was willing to be wrong, as I only wanted the truth. The next obvious alternative was that there was a rapist out there over whom I had no control and who the Divinity could not prevent, who caused this to happen. Certainly that is how the world would see it. Isn’t personal security a major issue for us? So much effort goes into protecting ourselves from hostile forces outside of ourselves.
But is that really how it is? How could I possibly return to normalcy if that were so? Then at every turn I could expect another incident. There could be no peace if it were true that I was buffeted about by forces beyond my control. Could I be so helpless and vulnerable? I simply could not accept that a rapist randomly breaking in and assaulting me was the full story, particularly on Shivaratri night in a Sai Baba center. Again I didn’t settle. I kept digging in a determination to find the whole truth.
So far I had ruled out God or rapist as possible cause. That left only one other possibility and that was that I am the cause, that I did this to myself. That seemed the one possibility that had some potential for peace. I had already been shown that what happened was not real, thus I understood that in truth nothing had happened to me. Knowing this made it possible to step into personal responsibility. Had I not known the unreality of the incident, I would not have been able to shoulder the responsibility.
One might argue, “If nothing happened, what is there to be responsible for?” Though the suffering was not real, it was very real for me. That is the difference between using the teaching of unreality for denial or healing. Only with self-responsibility is there a willingness to make the necessary shift in consciousness required to heal the mind that thought it could be a victim of circumstances beyond its control. Once the mind is healed, the outer circumstances must reflect a destiny free of victim consciousness.
Knowing that suffering is ultimately unreal makes it easier to be responsible. And, if I did this to myself, then I was not buffeted about by forces outside of myself. That was good news. If I did this to myself, then it must be that I also have the power to undo this, to heal its effects, to prevent it from happening in the future. Self-responsibility was essential, for it motivated me to want to change my mind. I have the power to alter my destiny. What do I need to do to change my mind?
Some well-intentioned friends told me that a huge chunk of negative karma had just been removed. That provided a possible explanation, but it was not the solution I was looking for. It certainly didn’t make me feel good because it left open the question of how much more negative karma I might have to undergo whose effects I might experience at any moment. Karma considers whatever happens in any situation to be an effect of a previous cause. Its purpose is to balance the scales. Karma requires time and we have already discovered that time is not real. I wanted a solution that would guarantee the end of all suffering now.
Should we honor the laws of karma? Are they of God? Let us assume I did something in the past for which I felt guilty. This guilt is exactly what ego had hoped I would feel. Ego then suggested a punishment befitting the crime to be meted out at some future time, most probably another lifetime. I meekly went along with the punishment, because after all I did feel guilty. Next life I probably won’t remember what I might have done but sad disaster strikes unexpectedly for no apparent reason. Is a consequence for something I may have done in a previous life really reasonable or fair in this life?
I must have agreed to it because I am all-powerful and nothing happens to me without my will. Is punishment fair just because I agree to it? If I am all-powerful, and if I did agree, then we can see how there are no victims and there are no accidents. It does not however mean that I was wisely advised or that I needed to follow the advice of my counselor. My guide was ego and had a purpose for my suffering – its life at my expense. Ego doesn’t care about me. It only cares about its survival. Did I need that experience to learn I shouldn’t rape? Did it help me to know not to hurt others? Is karma God’s idea of justice?
When I looked at it, I could find no true justice in the idea. Karma is based on the ego thought system that sees other bodies outside of you that can hurt you or that you can hurt. Hurtful actions produce guilt which in turn lead to future reckoning in line with the idea ‘as you sow, so shall you reap.’ Bodies are not real and you cannot be hurt, nor can you hurt anyone as all are Spirit and invincible. Karma is not of God; it is of ego. God has nothing to do with guilt and punishment. That is ego’s idea of justice. God’s solution is to correct the mind that thought it could hurt anyone or that attempting to hurt another could serve any purpose. We do not have to make amends for the past. We need merely change our minds toward kindness for all and the past is undone, leaving not a trace.
The laws of karma can only bind you as long as you are allied with ego. Baba says, “There is no freewill because all your will is tied up in karma.” He also says, “Let Me efface all your karma.” God’s grace can wipe out all karma instantly. When you make a shift in consciousness, the scales are balanced instantly. When you recognize that you are not a body and that you cannot hurt another or be hurt by anyone you are making that shift. That shift opens the door to God’s grace and your past is undone.
We are under no laws but God’s. God’s idea of justice is to remind us that all are Spirit. The rapist could not hurt me, because I am Spirit and therefore invulnerable. In other words, no one can ever commit any crime in the truest sense. Everyone is always innocent. We only felt guilty because we thought it possible to hurt others, because we thought we were bodies and they were bodies. You are indestructible just as I am. If you cannot hurt anyone, then you have no reason to feel guilty for any possible hurtful actions you might have committed in the past. They had no effect upon the truth. If however you use this teaching to justify hurting another, you have not understood that you are not a body and subject yourself to the laws of karma.
When we truly know that we are all invulnerable, guilt vanishes with no need to experience consequences for past mistakes and that is how time is collapsed. Then all our past simply rolls up like a long carpet behind us. You are bound by karmic consequences only as long as you do not know who you are. Once you know who you are you will know who everyone is and will not want to hurt anyone. Then there will be no purpose for consequences for past errors. All suffering is self-inflicted punishment for crimes that were never committed. That is the insanity we bought into and we stand free of it when we want to be free. God reminds us that we were created innocent and thus are innocent forever. Only when we remember this are we truly free of our past.
As with any of these teachings, ego can latch onto them and use them for license. Always be vigilant. Don’t let ego fool you into thinking that now you can do whatever you want as long as you don’t feel guilty. It is true that it doesn’t matter what you have done because it wasn’t real. However, do not carry that understanding into the present or you hold onto your past. This is a new moment and any attempt to hurt another is an admission that you do not understand you are both Spirit and binds you to karmic consequences for all errors of the past, not just this action. If you justify hurting another, it will produce guilt and keep you on the wheel of cause and consequence.
You were created to love everyone and everything and though perhaps you have tried to block out the truth, somewhere within you, your deep love for everyone could not be forgotten. Acting hurtfully produces guilt. Hurting anyone is hurting yourself for we are one organism. When we behold each other as Spirit we cannot but love one another. Spirit is who we all are. To think of hurting anyone is simply impossible when you know the truth.
Once a murderer attempted to use the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita in his defense. He took the position that he did not really murder as everyone is Spirit and therefore cannot die. The judge was also a student of the teachings. He said, “Though you killed bodies, it is correct that you did not murder in the truest sense. Regrettably for you, you did not understand the teachings at all and cannot escape the consequences of your actions. You used the teachings for license and misapplied them entirely. If you had understood them, it would have been impossible for you to commit the heinous acts that you have been charged with. You thought that those you murdered were bodies or you would not have acted as you did. Only one in body consciousness can murder and thereby subject himself to the laws of karma.”
The defendant’s reasoning was that it is impossible to murder as that which can be hurt or destroyed is unreal, therefore it doesn’t matter what you do in relation to name and form. He was suggesting that he could not be held accountable for a crime that he had not committed in truth. He had conceptual understanding and was misapplying the teachings to justify the unjustifiable. Needless to say, murder is an unloving act perpetrated in alliance with ego and ego needs you guilty. He was right that it is impossible to defy God’s will. To defy God’s will would be to try to destroy what God created to have eternal life and succeed. God did not create bodies. What God created cannot be destroyed. We are not more powerful than God. It is impossible for anything to die, but in misapplying the teachings to justify murder, he was slitting his own throat.
Had he really understood the teachings he would have recognized the preciousness of all life. The attempt to do what cannot be done is the cause of all unreality, which inevitably results in pain and misery. Pain is not real, as it was never God’s will for you, yet it is hard to deny the experience when you are suffering. I pray that you lead a righteous life and use the teachings wisely and thereby be at peace.
The teachings I share here come from my deep explorations of truth, but if used with lack of maturity they will hurt you. It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, but it matters very much what you do now. If you misapply these teachings, you would have been much better off not having received them. You will experience the consequences of your mind. Always act with the utmost purity and sacredness toward all beings and things.
There are no levels of illusion. When you know who you are, you will find yourself unable to engage in any unreal behaviors. And yet you have no business condemning anyone for his or her mistakes. All I wished for my rapist was that he change his mind and stop hurting others. I did not wish him punished. I did not seek revenge. I did have him put away but only because I felt a duty to society. Had someone else been violated I would have felt responsible.
Someone suggested that was not my business, as perhaps I was depriving a sister of a valuable lesson that the experience could have afforded. No one needs to learn anything they do not already know. Yes, I learned many things, but what I learned most emphatically was that I did not ever want this to happen again, not to me or anyone. If that is what I learned, it would make no sense to see someone else possibly needing the same experience to learn the same lesson. If someone else were accosted, I would feel I could have prevented that. I have a duty to society as everything is in my mind. There is nothing outside of me. If I can prevent suffering and do not act to do so, I am directly responsible for another’s pain.
Though the rapist has been removed from society, he is innocent as he cannot be different from how he was created. He can change his mind toward kindness and be instantly restored to wholeness. There is a story of a sandal thief who was caught and sent away from Sai Baba’s ashram. Baba did not have him punished. Instead He supported him to start an orphanage. The man was transformed and is serving society to this day in a very humble and upright manner. Ratnakara, a skilled and treacherous thief 10,000 years ago became the author of the great epic poem, The Ramayana. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Hold no one’s past against him, or you bind yourself. It is possible to be transformed instantly by simply shifting from ego consciousness to God consciousness.
You are always either choosing with God or with ego. When you choose with God, your purpose is the one Self, the truth of who you really are. When you choose with ego, your purpose is to maintain a separate identity. There is nothing that will not be undone the instant you no longer see a purpose for it. You are all-powerful because you are not separate or different from God. God cannot be victimized and neither can you unless it fulfills your purpose. God created you just like Himself. The power of God is within you and all that stands between you and that power is your learning of the false and your attempts to undo the real. When you change your mind about what you want to see, the entire world must change accordingly.
Once in a dream, Arjuna (Krishna’s disciple 5000 years ago) and I were sitting at the kitchen table chatting like brother and sister. “You know, Yaani,” he said, “I saw the whole Mahabharata war from start to finish in every minute detail before it began.” Upon hearing that I threw up my hands and exclaimed in dismay, “Oh, Arjuna, does that mean I have nothing to say about what happens to me?” “No, Yaani, it’s not like that,” he reassured me. “When consciousness changes destiny also changes.” You are all-powerful. You are the dreamer of your dream. You can change it from a nightmare into a happy dream by changing your mind from body consciousness to God consciousness, from untruth to truth.
Every thought you think is either real or unreal. Your real thoughts are thoughts you think with God. They will be loving and will produce a real experience. All other thoughts are unreal, yet they will have their effects. There are no neutral thoughts. That is why Baba constantly reminds us to watch our thoughts for purity, kindness and love. He says, “Give Me your garbage.” Give any undesirable thoughts to God to be undone so you will only experience reality. If you give your unreal thoughts to God, you will not feel guilty and thereby perpetuate unreality.
At the time of my rape incident I obviously had not rooted out victim-victimizer consciousness from my mind, otherwise I could not have attracted that experience to myself. I did however use my painful experience to dive deep into the truth so as to prevent a similar episode in the future. All things are lessons God would have me learn and thus everything that happens can be used. Use it as God’s grace. If not for God’s presence it might have been even more traumatic. Do not see it as God’s will. God only wills our happiness.
My experience was unreal and never happened in truth. It was a nightmare. A dream seems very real while you are dreaming but when you wake up you see it was only a dream. Everything that happens to us in the world is only a dream. It is not real. We can however either use it as a learning device to free us or as a nightmare to keep us frightened and thereby imprisoned. I used my experience to wake up from the nightmare, not by denying its reality, but by taking personal responsibility and allowing my mind to be healed by God’s grace.
The rape wasn’t real, but it was real for me and if I denied that it happened before it was healed I would merely be keeping a skeleton in the closet and thereby choosing ego’s solution to the problem, which is no solution at all. God’s solution is to heal the mind that thinks it can be a victim. That happened when I owned that I did this to myself, for I am all-powerful and nothing happens to me but by my will. Self-responsibility opens the door to a shift from victim/victimizer consciousness to God consciousness. In being willing to be responsible, I was motivated to change my mind and that desire permitted the unreal to be undone. Through that action of mind, the past is truly unreal and never happened from a place of a healed mind, a mind that has been restored to wholeness. Then the experience will not ever be repeated. There would simply be no purpose for it. The secret to salvation is but that whatever is happening, you are doing it to yourself, however undesirable it may appear to be. Own this and you are free.
If I don’t use the experience to learn the lesson, it will be repeated till I get it right. I am not the only one who has been raped. Many sisters tell of similar incidents. Some admit to having completely blocked the incident out of their minds as the way they have dealt with it. I’m sorry but this is denial and not healing. This is ego’s solution to the problem. You would only deny what you feel you need to preserve. Denial keeps the unreal real. Self-responsibility is fearful only as long as the unreal is given reality. Because I recognized its unreality I did not feel guilty or bad in stepping into personal responsibility for what happened.
To be responsible is to be in true relationship with everything that happens to you. You are the Lord of your universe. Everything that happens to you is of your own making. Only when you step into that level of responsibility can past mistakes be undone. The willingness to stand still in the nightmare opens the door to God’s solution which is to heal the past. When we look at our experiences with God, God can undo any and all negative effects for us. Mistakes are correctable when we are willing to have them corrected. My mind needed to be healed and in my willingness to be healed, it was accomplished. It required my admission that I was wrong. It was easy to admit that I was wrong when I saw that the consciousness I was holding was not producing a joyful experience.
I now know that nothing happened because I let myself be healed by looking at the ego thought system that produced an unreal experience. Ego stands on the tiny platform, “Whatever you do, don’t look at me.” Baba says, “Face the devil.” I looked at it without judgment and asked that the truth be revealed. I saw its unreality and in seeing it, it literally vanished. When the unreal is transformed into the real all that is remembered of the past is the love. I truly have only the deepest gratitude for the way in which that frightening nightmare was transformed into a powerful classroom toward my awakening. There is no fear associated with my remembrance. In fact it only seems like a distant memory.
My rape experience impelled me to change my mind. It was an extreme example that hopefully not you or anyone need undergo. You can change your mind by using my experience or any other extreme example such as Jesus’ crucifixion to motivate you to change your consciousness. See that this world of duality, death, injustice, victims and victimizers that was made to maintain separation is no longer what you want. You do need to judge truly between what is real and what is unreal so that you can stop reinforcing unreality and thereby keeping it real for you.
God honors His children and as long as we want unreality to be real, He will not interfere. Sai Baba says, “The spiritual path is very easy. Stop making the unreal real and allow the real to be real.” Once we withdraw belief from our mis-creations they will no longer exist. If they are not undone, we have not withdrawn belief from them. Denial and guilt keep unreality in place. When you deny something, you are afraid to look at it and thereby you make it real. When you feel guilty for your past you also make it real. Self-responsibility and looking without judgment allow all mistakes to be healed. A miracle of the undoing of the unreal will happen for you when you want it above all else. Everyone is entitled to miracles.
Taking personal responsibility means that there is nothing to forgive and that is exactly what is meant by true forgiveness. If I did this to myself, it would make no sense to forgive someone else, someone outside of me, for there is no one outside of me. If you think someone did something to you and then you magnanimously forgive him, you expose to yourself that you do not believe you are all-powerful. Instead, you reveal that you believe you are both bodies and that you are separate, and you keep yourself locked in victim-victimizer consciousness. Nothing happens to you against your will.
The rapist could not have acted without my will, otherwise I am a victim and not all-powerful as I was created. I am all-powerful and when I know that, I will take great care to use my power wisely in the service of the healing of the unreal. Forgiveness recognizes that nothing happened to me; that I did this to myself. The perpetrator merely acted as my consciousness permitted, therefore I have no reason to feel angry or upset with him. However, I need not choose his company. Baba says to avoid bad company. He is not a bad person, as he cannot be different from how he was created, but he must make a shift in consciousness where he is willing to align his actions with truth. I do not condemn him, but nor do I condone his hurtful actions. I hold his truth that he is innocent and that a shift in consciousness will restore him to wholeness. I want his salvation as I want the salvation of all my brothers and sisters everywhere, no matter what their history. That is forgiveness.
You have not understood this teaching if you use it to justify staying in an abusive situation. If, for example, a husband is beating his wife, she is right to recognize that she is doing this to herself, but she is not right to continue to place herself in harms way. This is not an exercise in taking a beating with a smile on your face. To forgive means that she wants him whole for his sake and does not seek retribution. She should not want him punished for his abusiveness. However, she should not let him continue to abuse her. If she does, she condones his actions and is not serving either herself or him. Unless he is willing to admit he has a problem and to seek help in correcting his behavior she needs to change her circumstances. She can turn to God for a nonviolent solution to any problem.
When your mind is healed you will have gratitude and appreciation for everyone, no matter what they have done to you. This is not to say that you should appreciate their unkind actions. To appreciate the rape experience would be to wish it on others. I saw its unreality. It is nothing. You are not being asked to appreciate what does not exist but only to see it for what it is. Anything anyone does in relation to you is either love or a call for love. When you see that, your only reasonable response is love. I expressed love by saying, “God bless you.” I wanted the man healed, because I felt his pain, I felt his call for love and I used the experience to express love.
What about forgiving myself? The idea that anything happened to me, to who I am in truth, had to be healed and that is self - forgiveness. If you think something has happened and then you forgive yourself for allowing it to happen, you have made it real. It is not real if it has to do with victim-victimizer consciousness as that is of ego. Ego is unreal and so is anything that comes from it. Only God and God’s love are real and being violated is not love. The incident was very real to me until I took personal responsibility for it and fearlessly looked at it with God, willing to face the truth. That is forgiveness. Forgiveness recognizes that nothing happened from the perspective of self-responsibility.
All violence, catastrophes, wars, earthquakes, droughts, famines, epidemics… are unreal. God did not create them. They are an out-picturing of mind allied with ego and that mind makes unreality. The unreal will be real until we let God heal our minds. You can stop making an unreal world whenever you want and then you will have a real experience as God wills for you. God is love, therefore it will be an experience of love.
You can experience love even in an earthquake, but if you could choose to experience love without the earthquake what would be your choice? Watch any tendency to justify disasters because of the ‘good’ you can find in them. You can find good without opposite too. Love can express itself just as readily without contrast. God made goodness and love without opposite. The world as we see it is the opposite of the world God made, thus it is not real.
When God created the world, He said, “It is good.” He did not say it is both good and evil. What God has not created does not exist. Evil, darkness, fear, hatred, and suffering do not exist at all. We make them real by believing in them. We transform the unreal into the real by changing our minds. Baba teaches us to ‘do good, be good and see good.’ Goodness is the portal back to reality because goodness is real and thus restores reality to our minds.
Illusions are not fearful, thus there is no need to escape them. They seem fearful only to the extent to which we fail to recognize them for what they are. Any attempt at escape cements their reality in our minds. Who would feel the need to escape nothing? It makes no sense. If the world is a projection of our minds and if it is unreal, then it remains unreal only as long as our minds are unhealed. When our minds are restored to wholeness, we will see a world transformed into a real world of peace, love, joy and abundance for all of humanity. Then heaven will be restored to earth and the Golden Age will be upon us as Baba has promised. It is not up to Baba to bring this about. It is up to you and me. God can only act at our invitation. He awaits our blessing to act toward the salvation of the world. We cannot escape the unreal world. Unreality must be transformed into reality through the transformation of our minds from ego consciousness to God consciousness, from fear to love. Once our minds are healed, we are again able to merge with God’s mind and that is our true home.
Someone may conceptually know that the world is not real and that there is no world or suffering. It remains conceptual if they add, “So let’s leave this place,” or “I hate the world.” With this idea, have they really understood the unreality of the world? If one hates the world for the injustices that are perpetrated here, have they stepped into personal responsibility for all that they see? When you have healed your mind, why would you feel the need to leave the world? The world is a projection of your mind. Until you wish it healed you do not want your mind healed. In wishing to escape, you cannot but make the unreal world real for you.
You are attempting to escape if you use drugs, alcohol or overindulgences of any kind. Overeating or sleeping too much are also attempts at escape. Death too is escape. You can even use religion, meditation, ‘the highest teachings’ or the idea of transfiguring your body into light as a plan for escape. All these are ways to sustain unreality when your purpose is escape rather than transforming the unreal back into the real. To be angry about unreal things that happen also keeps the unreal real for you. If you are detached from the world, disinterested, or complacent, but do not wish to have the world transformed back into the real world, your understanding of its unreality is also conceptual and you thereby still perpetuate unreality.
It is one thing to hear a teaching conceptually and to blindly apply it from that limited understanding. When you really want the truth, you will ask what to do with the knowledge that the world is not real. Only if you yearn with all your heart for the healing of the world and have a willingness to do whatever it takes to help restore it back to reality, have you understood that the world as we know it is not real. Only when you find yourself actively about the undoing of unreality through miracle-mindedness, have you truly understood the teaching that the world is not real. Then you have understood that the world is a projection of your mind and in wishing its wholeness you are wishing your own. All you really need do is change your mind about the world. When enough minds become truly miracle-minded the shortening process will become immeasurable for all humanity and the world will be saved.
Your mind is all–powerful and whatever you wish is what you get. Unreality comes from unreal thoughts which source from an unhealed mind. Our meaningless thoughts show us a meaningless world. We are responsible for the unreality of the world. The unreal is given reality and therefore only does it seem to exist. Take away reality from it and it is transformed into the real world. That is what a healed mind does by its very nature. It thinks real thoughts which heal the unreal, thereby revealing the real world. The real world was created by God and you and can be reabsorbed back into your mind at will. You cannot do nothing and not change and expect the undoing of the unreal. It is essential to watch your thoughts. Every thought has all the power of God behind it and is generating either reality or unreality. Unreal thoughts produce suffering for yourself and others. Give your impure thoughts to God to be transformed.
If you fall prey to the thought that it does not matter what you do as it is not real anyway, you only conceptually understand unreality. Conceptual understanding leads to misapplication of the teachings and gives license to entertain corruption. Some people take enough rope to hang themselves.
Sai Baba teaches that the bird of liberation flies with two wings, dispassion and discrimination. Let us use that teaching here to understand reality and unreality. Dispassion recognizes that the world is not real and that nothing you have done matters as past is past. Discrimination sees God in everything and holds everything sacred. Be a living example of who you are even in an unreal world, by leading a life of noble character. Then you are contributing to the possibility of everyone having a real experience. It does not matter what you have done in the past, but it matters very much what you do now. When you hold both dispassion and discrimination in your mind and apply that perfect balance in all undertakings in the world, you will have understood the difference between what is real and what is unreal.
You may have heard it said that the spiritual path is like walking the razor’s edge. If you succumb to seeing only that all is unreal and that therefore it doesn’t matter what you do, you fall off the one side. If you choose to see everything as real and worry or get upset whenever anything is lost, stolen or damaged, you have fallen off the other side. The spiritual athlete will stay on the razor’s edge through equal-mindedness and will hold both ideas in perfect balance.
Abraham, in the Bible, demonstrated perfect balance between detachment and discrimination when God asked him to make a sacrificial offering of his precious child, Isaac. Discrimination sees only God in everything and is expressed through the deepest love. Abraham had such an all-consuming love for his beloved son. Detachment knows the unreality of the body. Abraham did not hesitate, but took his son up the mountain and after building the sacrificial altar, tied his son to it. He was about to snuff out this most cherished son’s life when the angel of God stopped him and gave a fatted ram for the burnt offering instead. Abraham’s unflinching obedience to God’s will demonstrated that he was not blinded by attachment to his son. And of course God could never let him go through with sacrificing his son, for God is love.
Watch a tendency to become careless or complacent from a conceptual understanding of detachment. Abraham’s passionate love, free of body consciousness, demonstrated true detachment and so he mobilized both wings of the bird of liberation. If only one wing is flapping, you are as well off as the person who has no dispassion or discrimination. You are going nowhere. Dispassion does not mean to stop caring because none of it is real anyway. That would be conceptual understanding of the unreal. Everything is a gift. You will understand exactly what to do with the idea of unreality if you sincerely want only the truth. For the mind that wants to understand, discerning the real from the unreal is not difficult. God only gives what is real. If you truly know that all your thoughts, words and deeds come from God, they will be pure, noble and full of charity and compassion because that is all that can come from God and that is real.
Once you understand the nature of unreality, its source and sustenance, you will give all your energy toward its undoing. The unreal is transformed into the real by finding the real within it. Everything without exception contains God and should be treated with gratitude and used for a sacred purpose. I found a sacred purpose even in a traumatic experience. When you act with love toward anyone or anything you are being real and your reality transforms the unreal. A car is unreal. Do not allow it to give you your identity. Use it to transport God. Use it for holy purposes, not for pomp or show.
You are a God or Goddess and should act accordingly. Treat yourself with the utmost respect. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Then you will know that you truly believe you are who you are. Then you will know your reality and how to negotiate the world of illusion, and you will not be ensnared by it. Others are merely a reflection of yourself. If you treat everyone with love and make one exception, you do not love yourself. If you treat only one person with total honoring and respect, you love everyone truly and have understood your reality. Ego is an unreal idea. God is a real idea. Everything is simply an idea in your mind. Use your mind to discern which of the ideas you hold are real and which unreal.
Meaningless thoughts are not thoughts you think with God. When you do not think like God, you have not really thought at all. Delusional ideas are not thoughts but you can believe in them. If you have thought them, you will believe in them and in the results that come of them. This is the way they are sustained. Change your mind and you will see the world differently. The unreal world must be transformed into the real world. It can be saved because it is unreal. If the world of sickness, suffering and death were real, it could not be undone.
Baba says great saints sitting in temples and caves chanting the eternal OM are doing more for the world than all of our worthy causes combined. They have changed their minds from ego consciousness to God consciousness. That has a powerful and uplifting effect on the whole world. Enlightened masters have realized that the world is a projection of their minds. They use the power of their all-powerful minds for healing the planet. Most of them are quiet and we are unaware of their tremendous impact for good for the whole of humanity. God has a plan for the salvation of the world and we each have our parts to play. We must be willing to do our part. The world can be saved. With God all things are possible. Until not one slave remains to walk the earth’s surface is your salvation complete. Everything and everyone is part of you and to neglect anyone is to remain unhealed.
Perhaps your learning has brought you to the conclusion that no one is suffering out there, as suffering is unreal and by acknowledging that there is suffering you make it real. Think of a moment when you felt excruciating pain. What was your reaction? I would imagine you sought relief. Hopefully you didn’t punish yourself further by blaming yourself for your pain. Hopefully you were compassionate in your behalf and did not feel guilty, but nor did you deny your pain. Hopefully you asked for help and experienced a miracle. And when the miracle came and the pain simply vanished, weren’t you grateful? This you can do for all those who suffer and do not yet know the power of their minds to heal themselves. You do not do this by teaching them the unreality of suffering but by allowing Spirit to move through you to heal.
True, suffering is not real, but it doesn’t go away by denying its reality. As long as there is suffering in the world in any form, suffering is real for you and you have a responsibility toward its healing. Only when you have the deepest compassion for anyone who is suffering and want to do all you can to restore him or her to wholeness have you understood that suffering is not real. Because it is unreal, it can easily be undone when you no longer see a purpose for it. That is good news. If you use the teaching to become callous and uncaring about the suffering of others you simply have not understood the teaching. If you commiserate with those who are suffering rather than act toward their healing, you also make suffering real.
As long as you find yourself in the world, you have to acknowledge that it is real for you. Do not flippantly see money, food or objects as unreal and thereby justify using them irresponsibly. Use everything for a sacred purpose. Use everything for the salvation of the world. When anyone hands Baba a letter with a postage stamp on it He removes the contents and tosses the envelope back. He is conveying that to waste even a postage stamp is unmindful. You do not need a postage stamp when you hand deliver a letter. Use everything with care, reverence and alertness. Make your life a Zen practice where all is done consciously and with loving alertness.
Baba says that everything we see is made up of name and form, which are unreal, but also of existence, brilliance and dearness, which are real. Everything is both real and unreal. He says, “Money comes and goes, morality comes and grows.” Use money for charity and for worthy causes. If you use it carelessly or for worldly pleasures, because ‘after all it is not real,’ you misapply the teaching. Once Sai Baba made a gift of saris to a group of ladies. When He had finished there were a number of saris that had not been distributed. After a while someone noticed they were getting wet for no apparent reason. When he mentioned it to Baba, Baba said, “They are crying because I did not use them.” Even cloth has consciousness.
Everything has consciousness within it and can be used either as a gift of God, or thoughtlessly as ‘it is not real anyway.’ Baba says of His body, “Ordinary body, used for a sacred purpose.” Use your body for a sacred purpose and you will be true to yourself. Use your body in service to humanity, for giving and for pure and holy acts. Treat others with sacredness and gratitude. Do not have a careless attitude as their bodies are not real. This is a misapplication of the teaching that one’s body is not real. ‘Help ever, hurt never.’ Helping others helps you to remember who you are because you are those you are helping and in helping them you help yourself. This helps you to expand beyond the belief that you are a body.
Do not adopt the attitude that you can eat what you like because your body is not real anyway. Eat healthy, pure, wholesome food that will nourish your body and contribute to its health and well-being. Baba says the food you eat affects your thoughts. If you eat animal products you will have animal consciousness. Eating of the plant kingdom contributes to a harmonious and peaceful state of mind. You must master your mind to be free. Eating consciously helps.
Food is sacred and should not be wasted. And keep a balance; don’t become fanatical about not wasting. I know someone who won’t throw anything away; even a banana that is too ripe is put into the stomach. This is discernment without dispassion. It is good to be conscious and to take only what you need so that you don’t waste food, but temper that by finding the middle way. When you become irrational about your need to hang on to things, or to avoid waste at all cost, know that you have not understood the unreality of name and form.
If your son crashes the car, a true response would demonstrate that you care about him and feel grateful he is alive, and you don’t care about the car because it is not real anyway. At the same time do not foster a recklessness. You won’t be troubled when something breaks or gets lost or stolen when you value only that which is real. When you have understood truly, you cannot be disappointed, for what is real can never diminish, but will only increase eternally. The Buddha recommended the middle way. Use common sense, neither letting the pendulum swing too far to the side of everything is real or too far to the side of nothing is real.
As long as you make illusions you will believe in them because that is how you made them. You made them with the power of your belief. When you believe something you have made it true for you. You cannot undo this by doing nothing and not changing. As long as you find yourself in a body it is real for you so use it in the service of reality. Every loving thought, action or word is real and eternal. When you look upon the world with love you give it reality. We have used the world to cover our love and the deeper we go into the blackness of the ego’s foundation the closer we come to the love that lies hidden beneath it. Do not draw hasty conclusions, satisfying yourself with insubstantial evidence out of fear of uncovering the love and innocence that you have kept hidden beneath a veneer of hate or guilt.
Unreality can deceive, but can also always be changed. Reality is changeless and does not deceive at all. If you fail to see beyond appearances, you will be deceived, for everything you see will change. But this is not reality. Reality’s changelessness makes it real and keeps it separate from all appearances. It must transcend all unreality for it to be itself. We have brought reality to unreality. This has not made unreality real, though we have believed in it. Now we need merely stop accepting it as real and allow reality to be what it is.
Unreality can be transformed into reality when we let God undo the unreal by not insisting that what is unreal is real. God honors His child and if you want unreality to be real, He will not interfere. As long as there is ego, there will be unreality, for that is all that can come from alliance with ego, as ego is itself unreal. Your mind is so powerful that you can convince yourself of anything. Withdraw energy from unreality and stop insisting that it is real if you want to be free. Focus on what is real and allow that to be real. Use unreality for a real purpose. Then it becomes real.
Always be vigilant for the truth. Listen deeply to the truth within your own heart. Do not draw hasty conclusions from what you hear or read to suit yet another of ego’s purposes. Go for depth of understanding. Ask for your own revelatory experience. Don’t settle for anyone else’s understanding, no matter how qualified they may present themselves. You already know the truth. Trust yourself. There is no one more qualified to teach you than God within. Sai Baba says, “If I tell you one thing and your heart tells you something else, always follow your heart.”
See unreality for what it is. Do not fall prey to ego’s cunning and viciousness or to its subtle seduction and deception. Yield not to temptation. Be pure and true to yourself. Follow your conscience. Remember that three simple steps overcome any nightmare. First, the nightmare is unreal. Second, you are doing it to yourself. Third, you can change your mind. Ask God for help. Once you take personal responsibility, you open the door to the healing of the unreal. Your mind is all-powerful, so use it with alertness and judiciousness. It can be used to support what is real or to perpetuate what is unreal. Be real even in an unreal world and you will have a real experience of love, peace and joy for yourself and for all those you meet.
Beloved Creator of reality, You know how to guide us through the land mine of unreality back to the safety of what is real. Please show us how to use everything both real and unreal in the service of reality. Direct us to use every experience to draw closer to reality. Help us discern between what is real and what is unreal and transform the unreal back into the real. May all sickness, suffering, death, lack and loneliness be undone in the truth that they were never Your will, thus never real. Help us to recognize how we are each responsible for all the unreality in our lives. We made a mistake. Our error did not make us bad, but it did make us wrong and produced endless needless suffering for ourselves and others. Now we bring all our errors happily to You for correction. Thank You that only reality is real.
May all beings in all the worlds be happy and blest, Amen.
God Only Creates What is Real