Perverse frowardness

“To understand (the Bible) you need a little intelligence and much intuition– intelligence enough to enable you to read the book, and intuition enough to interpret and understand what you read.” ~ Neville Goddard, from his book Freedom For All

I’ve bookmarked a “random bible verse” website on my laptop, phone and tablet, and any time I feel like I need a shot of inspiration, I refresh the page, and more often than not, what I get is germane to whatever my needs are at the moment.

This morning, when I logged on, the verse on the page was Proverbs 10:32. By default, the site shows the translation from the New International Version (NIV), with alternate translations below that. Here is the NIV translation:

The lips of the righteous know what finds favor,
but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.

One of the things I learned from the most astute biblical scholar I’ve yet read, Neville Goddard, is that I need to read it critically. The Bible, he wrote in Freedom For All, was “written in an Eastern symbolism… by the Eastern mind and therefore cannot be taken literally by those of the west…. Why was it not written in a clear, simple style so that all who read it might understand it?… All men speak symbolically to that part of the world that differs from their own. The language of the West is clear to us of the West, but it is symbolic to the East, and vice versa.”

Goddard cites as an example the phrase “on the rocks.” “The man of the West would unintentionally mislead the man of the East by saying ‘This bank is on the rocks,’ for the expression ‘on the rocks’ to the Westerner is equivalent to bankruptcy, while a rock to an Easterner is a symbol of faith and security.”

This made me aware that I needed to look beyond the surface to glean meaning from the Bible, but then confounding the issue further is the fact that there is not one “Bible,” but numerous (dare I say “countless”) translations of “the same” work. That’s another thing I learned from Neville: I need to both consult multiple translations of the Bible and use a concordance. If a word or passage doesn’t “feel right,” he said, don’t accept it: cross-reference it in multiple editions and look it up in a concordance or another exhaustive scholarly work (The Interpreter’s Bible and The Encyclopedia Biblica are two such works that he mentioned frequently).

The “random bible verse” website presented six translations of the “same verse” quoted above, and I also consulted my own varied translations. Depending on which translation you consulted, Proverbs 10:32 tells you the following:

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable:
But the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
(King James Version)

The lips of the godly speak helpful words,
but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.
(New Living Translation)

The mouth of the good utters wisdom
but the perverted tongue destruction.
(Ferrar Fenton)

The speech of good men is a breath of pleasure
but bad men talking breathe out malice.
(James Moffatt)

The lips of the righteous know what is good;
but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse things.
(George Lamsa)

Finally, perhaps the most reliable translation was in The Amplified Old Testament, a work which endeavored, in the editors’ words, “to reveal, together with the single-word English equivalent to each key Hebrew word, any other clarifying shades of meaning that may have been concealed by the traditional word-for-word method of translation.” The translators used parentheses for those “additional phrases of meaning included in the original word, phrase or clause,” and brackets for “clarifying words or comments… which are not actually expressed in the original text.”

The “Amplified” translation of Proverbs 10:32 is…

The lips of the (uncompromisingly) righteous know [and therefore utter] what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked knows [and therefore speaks only] what is obstinately willful and contrary.

That might be the translation that “feels” correct, but I had to go through six others to find it!

The amplified translation pointed me to a word that I found troubling in the other translations: perverse and its forms. At least six editions presented that word choice translated from the original Hebrew word (transliteration) tahpûkâh, which, according to Strong’s concordance, means “a perversity or fraud:— (very) froward (-ness, thing), perverse thing.”

Only the King James (ironically the first English translation of the batch, from 1611) opted for frowardness. That word intrigued me, so I went to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary (even though I have a compact OED at hand; sometimes, though, I don’t feel like using the magnifier!) to get its meaning: “habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition.” That word, although archaic, “feels right,” especially given the Amplified translation.

For as right as froward felt, perverse and perversity felt wrong. It’s not that perverse is not one of the shades of meaning of the original Hebrew word; rather, it’s that to my 21st century mind, perverse and its derivatives have connotations which probably weren’t in the original text.

Merriam-Webster defines the primary meaning of the root word perverse as “turned away from what is right or good,” followed by “improper, incorrect,” “obstinate in opposing what is right, reasonable or accepted,” or “arising from or indicative of stubbornness or obstinancy.” Those all seem to be the traditional senses of the word’s meaning, and I’d guess that those senses are what the translators were attempting to convey in choosing perverse.

It was with the fourth sense of meaning, which cross references the derivative perversion, where my problem with the word comes in: “a perverted form especially an aberrant sexual practice or interest”(their emphasis).

That was my gut level response to the word “perverse” in those multiple translations: that it conveys a sense of sexual deviancy.

While that may be the limited modern use of the word, I don’t think that that’s what the original Hebrew text was attempting to convey. “Fraud” (from the Hebrew) seems closer, and “habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition” (from “froward”) really hits home. The Amplified translation seems to capture both of those, without the limited, commonly-held, modern implications of “perversity.”

Interesting: according to Merriam Webster’s website, the original use of “froward” was as an antonym for “forward.” “Froward meant ‘moving or facing away from something or someone,’” which may have led to its other original early meaning: “difficult to deal with, perverse.” The King James Bible was published in 1611, so both of those shades of meaning probably influenced the translators.

Of all the translations, again, the Amplified version not only felt like it resonated with my current situation (that was, after all, the original point of the exercise), but, objectively, it seems to capture the depth and dimensions of the original text’s meaning best, without using words which our modern sensibilities might shade with limited understanding. If I hadn’t read that, I’d go with the King James choice of “frowardness,” which, again, conveys shades and dimensions of meaning that include but are not limited to the most common choice, “perverse.”

It’s a cautionary tale to translators: in translating ancient texts to make them “more accessible to modern readers,” be sure that your word choices are as close to all senses of the original meaning as possible.

Lest the original meanings of the texts get perverted.

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Citing Neville – “The gifts of mind and speech”

A series of occasional posts about the sources which Neville Goddard mined for his lectures and writings

“There are two gifts given to man; those gifts are mind and speech.”

Neville not only quoted this frequently, but used it as the basis of several lectures and writings, and as he so often did, sometimes he cited the source work, while other times he didn’t.

For example, in his 1954 lecture “The Coin Of Heaven” (one of several different lectures to which Neville gave the same title), he introduces the quote with “We are told,” as he would a passage from the Bible:

Now we are told there were “two gifts given to man at birth–it doesn’t mean this little birth when I left my mother’s womb but when I left the womb of my Father; that is the grand womb, the womb of creation when, before the world was: He created me and made me perfect and set me in this world for a purpose, educative purpose– but He gave me two gifts: He gave me His own mind and He gave me the gift of speech, the very thing He used to create a world. So He spoke the world into being and then gave me the gift by which he spoke the world into being; so He gave me mind and speech.

In other lectures, Neville gave the quote’s source as The Hermetica, as translated by Walter Scott– not the poet, as Neville may have implied or as some might believe, but a late 19th century English classical scholar.

The Hermetica is a broad term used for works ascribed to the legendary Greek figure Hermes Trismegistus, some of them composed as early as the second century AD (CE) and to which new sections were added as late as the middle ages. The specific work from which Neville quoted is called the Corpus Hermeticum, and dates from the third or fourth century AD (CE). Scott completed three volumes of translation before his death in 1925; one of them was published in 1924, the second two were published posthumously, and the fourth volume, completed by A.S. Ferguson, was published later.

The passage that Neville quoted is from a dialogue between Hermes and his student Tat, and appears in book XII, section 12 (Volume 1, page 231 of Scott’s translation):

Hermes. There is another thing to be considered, my son. There are two gifts which God has bestowed on man alone, and on no other mortal creature. These two are mind and speech; and the gift of mind and speech is equivalent to that of immortality. If a man uses these gifts rightly, he will differ in nothing from the immortals; or rather, he will differ from them only in this, that he is embodied upon earth; and when he quits the body, mind and speech will be his guides, and by them he will be brought into the troop of the gods and the souls that have attained to bliss.

Tat. But do not the other living creatures use speech, father?

Hermes. No, my son; they have voice, but not speech; and speech is very different from voice. All men have speech in common; but each kind of living creature has its special sort of voice.

Tat. But among men also, father, each nation has a different speech.

Hermes. Languages differ, my son, but mankind is one; and speech likewise is one. It is translated from tongue to tongue, and we find it to be the same in Egypt, Persia, and Greece… Speech then is an image of mind; and mind is an image of God.
That blessed God, the Agathos Daimon, said ‘soul is in body, mind is in soul, and God is in mind.’ The rarest part of matter then is air; the rarest part of air is soul; the rarest part of soul is mind; and the rarest part of mind is God. And God deals with all things, and permeates all things; mind deals with soul; soul deals with air; and air deals with gross matter.


Goddard, Neville. The Coin of Heaven. Transcription of a 1954 lecture. Retrieved from on 7 February 2023.

Scott, Walter (editor and translator). Hermetica Volume One: The ancient Greek and Latin writings which contain religious or philosophic writings ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus. London: Oxford, 1924. Retrieved from on 7 February 2023:

A free PDF scan of Scott’s translation of the Hermetica is available from, in three volumes:
Volume One:
Volume Two:
Volume Three:
I was unable to find an ebook copy of Volume Four online, although print editions are available.

More information about the Corpus Hermetica, including the 1906 translation by G.R.S. Mead, is available online here:

Biographical information about Walter Scott is here:

My Neville Goddard-themed print journal (as of this writing untitled) will be available sometime in February 2023. It will contain annotated transcripts of several lectures, including this 1954 lecture “The Coin of Heaven,” plus other articles about Neville’s work.
You can preorder a copy (which will be mailed upon publication) at this link: .

I’ve published an annotated e-book edition of Neville’s lecture “Awake O Sleeper,” which is available as a PDF ebook here: .

If you liked this blog post and wish to support me, the author, you can do so with a donation at my Ko-fi page: .

“Neville Trekking” is now live!

NEVILLE TREKKING: An online discussion group devoted to STAR TREK as viewed through the lens of Neville Goddard’s teachings, with a focus on six selected episodes that we’ll parse as a group between now and March.

“Truth embodied in a tale shall enter in at lowly doors.” ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“The curious question came to me as to how much of the ‘woo-woo’ stuff like the outpicturing of our imagination could be real, and that we’re not experiencing it already? STAR TREK helped me loosen my perspective, and eased me into Neville when I found him.” ~ A Neville Trekking group member

I realized, while watching reruns of STAR TREK recently, that, in many ways, STAR TREK “eased me into” the ideas that Neville discussed.

“Imagining creates reality, time is not linear, consciousness is the only reality”– I first encountered these ideas not via religion or a philosophy class, but from watching STAR TREK episodes like “Shore Leave” or “Spectre of the Gun” or “Elementary, Dear Data” or “The Emissary.”

So I thought it’d be fun to have a six-week online “class” in which we watch these episodes and others as a group and then discuss them in light of Neville’s teachings.

Links to free downloadable videos of the full episodes will be provided, along with clips of key scenes and (when available) scripts and novelizations, so you can “read” the episodes if you want, along with (of course) pertinent Neville writings and quotes, and other material about the show and ideas in the series.


The first twelve people who register will “pay what you want IF you want.” The registration fee is set to $0 for the first twelve people. Pay more if you want; that’s up to you.

Here’s the link!

This group is being held on the social media site Mewe. MeWe is a social media site that works the way Facebook used to work when we liked the way Facebook worked: no ads, no data mining. MeWe registration itself is free. All links and info are provided in a document you will receive when you register and “pay whatever” at Ko-fi.

Hope you’ll join the group and boldly go! –Max Shenk, moderator

Trekking with Neville: “The bullets are not real.”

Neville Goddard used to quote Alfred, Lord Tennyson: “Truth embodied in a tale shall enter in at lowly doors.”
For me, one of those “lowly doors” was STAR TREK. It was through STAR TREK, not religion or philosophy classes, that I was first really introduced to the ideas that are the foundations of Neville’s teachings
“Imagining creates reality, consciousness is the only reality, time is not linear, there are worlds within worlds within worlds”– all of these concepts came to me first through STAR TREK. The truth embodied in those tales “entered at lowly doors” and made me receptive to them as spiritual truths.
I first published this article in my ‘zine METANOIA (issue 2). It was one of the first times I really explored and considered the Neville-TREK connection.

Lately I’ve been filling my days and evenings bingewatching old episodes of Star Trek, and one of the best episodes was one which I hadn’t forgotten about, but, rather, remembered dismissively: “Spectre of the Gun.”

In it, the Enterprise encroaches on an alien race’s territory, and the aliens decide to punish the crew by transporting Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and Chekhov to a shoddy and superficial reproduction of Tombstone, Arizona, circa 1881, with the five crew members as the Clanton Gang, who, of course, died at the hands of Wyatt Earp in a gunfight at the OK Corral. The five try every rational means at their disposal to escape, without success. Finally, Chekhov, who was “Billy Clayborne,” is gunned down and killed by one of the Earp gang…

…except, as Spock points out, in the historical shootout at the OK Corral, Billy Clayborne survived!

The remaining four crew members then concoct a tranquilizer grenade to use against the Earp gang and thus escape their fate… but when they test the device and potion, the presumably failproof concoction doesn’t work.

Finally, the Tombstone clocks chime five PM– the deadline that the Earps imposed for the Clanton gang to leave town– and the four crew members are transported to the OK Corral, and while they await what seems to be their inevitable fate, Spock comes to a realization that he shares with the rest of the crew.

According to physical law, the tranquilizer should have worked, but it didn’t. According to the historical record, Chekhov (Billy Clayborn) should not have been killed, but he was. These inconsistencies, he says, cannot be ignored.

What, he asks his crewmates, killed Chekhov?

“A piece of lead in his body,” Dr. McCoy answers.

“No,” Spock replies. “His mind killed him.

“Physical reality,” Spock continues, “is consistent with universal laws. Where the laws do not operate, there is no reality. We judge reality by the response of our senses. Once we are convinced of the reality of a given situation, we abide by its rules. We judge the bullets to be solid, the guns to be real; therefore, they can kill.”

But since Chekhov should not have died, and the tranquilizer should have worked– “Anywhere else, it would have worked”– then, logically, Spock says, what the crew sees around them must be unreal.

Spock does a mindmeld with his three crewmates to plant in their minds the certainty that he feels– I know the bullets are not real; therefore, they cannot harm me--and when the Earps appear, they all unload their six-shooters and rifles into the Enterprise crewmen, who stand, unaffected, as the bullets blow holes in the wooden fencerails behind them.

Finally, when the bullets are spent, Kirk pummels Wyatt Earp, points his own sixshooter at Earp’s head, and then, remembering that the guns and bullets aren’t real, tosses it aside. With that, first the Earp gang and then the illusion of Tombstone vanish, and the four crewmen are back on the Enterprise…

…along with Chekhov: alive and in perfect health.

I’m doing a six-week online course/discussion called NEVILLE TREKKING, in which we’ll discuss six episodes of STAR TREK as filtered through the lens of Neville’s teachings.

The group will be conducted in a private group on the social media site MeWe (which is like Facebook used to be when Facebook worked).

The group will be LIVE on Sunday January 22, 2023.

Early registration is $18 until midnight EST Friday January 20, 2023, after which it is $24.

For more information or to register, go to or email me: .

For more information on my ‘zine Metanoia, including sample articles and ordering links, click here.

Citing Neville

Among other things, Neville Goddard was a gifted writer and speaker who knew how to communicate his mystical experiences and put them in context. For someone who never advanced past the third grade in public schools, his reading was wide and deep, but more than that, his understanding of those texts brought deeper meaning that many readers might have otherwise missed. He usually spoke extemporaneously, without notes, which meant that he seamlessly wove quotes from works by other authors into his lectures. He also knew the Bible from cover to cover and peppered his lectures with whatever scriptural passages fit the theme at hand, and more often than not, he could accurately cite the book, chapter, and verse of those passages.

Unfortunately, for non-scriptural references, Neville was less consistent and reliable. Occasionally Neville would cite the sources of non-scriptural works from which he quoted, but more often than not, he didn’t. Given that he spoke extemporaneously, and that he cited inconsistently, I believe that Neville wasn’t being intellectually dishonest, nor do I believe he was attempting to pass others’ works or thinking off as his own. Rather, I believe that the works he read were so ingrained in him and resonated so deeply that when they popped into his head on the platform, he’d just recite them. If he remembered to cite them, he would, but more often than not, a citation during a lecture would break the flow, and so he usually didn’t.

Whatever the reason, as a reader studying Neville’s work, it can be frustrating to encounter a quote or a passage that clearly isn’t Neville’s, and try to find a source for it. Often the internet is of little help. Anyone who’s ever tried to find a source for quotes attributed to, say, John Lennon knows how frustrating and fruitless a search for a source can be. Many of the reposted quotes on the internet attributed to “John Lennon” are things that the artist never said or wrote or sang. Yet they appear repeatedly online, without citation.

This is, sadly, typical of nearly every widely reposted quote you might find online. The unattributed quotes have been so widely reposted that they clot and clog search results, making it nearly impossible to find the original source. But, I’m finding, with a little work and diligence, I can usually find a source.

I’m currently annotating several Neville lectures for a Neville-themed print journal which will begin publication this winter (click here for more information on that) and, since the point of an annotated lecture is to provide citations and sources for a work, I’ve had to track down sources for many unattributed quotes. Sometimes Neville indirectly did the work for me: I’d recognize an uncited quote from its appearance in a different lecture where Neville cited, and the mystery would be easily solved. In other instances, he might not cite a specific work, but he’d give an author name (“As Fawcett said,” “As Blake put it,” etc), which was enough of a lead to track down the quote.

Here are two examples of “uncited” or “partially cited” quotes from a Neville lecture I’m transcribing and annotating (1971’s “Facts Have Overflowed the World”). If you’ve read or listened to Neville’s lectures, you’ll probably recognize both of these quotes. Consistent with Neville’s inconsistency, one of the quotes was cited and one wasn’t.

“Man is not the creature of circumstances; circumstances are the creatures of men.”
Neville correctly cited Benjamin Disraeli as the source, but didn’t cite the source work– he may have found the quote in an article or another book– and to this day, the quote is frequently recycled, with those recyclings following that pattern: it’s almost always correctly attributed to Disraeli (and not, thankfully, Lennon), but seldom with the title of the source work.
The quote is from Disraeli’s 1826-27 novel Vivian Grey, specifically Book VI, chapter 7 (originally published in 1827). It appears in a dialogue between the title character and another character named Beckendorff, and, as I’ve also noticed with single-verse scripture quotes, the longer passage from which the shorter quote is pulled gives it context and also goes more deeply into its meaning.
In the dialogue, Grey states that he is “not the master of my own conduct,” and that “I recognize in every contingency the pre-ordination of my fate… With great deference to you, I imagine that you mistake the effect for the cause; for surely temper is not the origin, but the result of those circumstances of which we are all the creatures.”
Beckendorff replies: “Sir, I deny it. Man is not the creature of circumstances. Circumstances are the creatures of men. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter. I recognize no intervening influence between that of the established course of nature, and my own mind. Truth may be distorted– may be stifled– be suppressed. The invention of cunning deceits may, and in most cases does, prevent man from exercising his own powers. They have made him responsible to a realm of shadows, and a suitor in a court of shades. He is ever dreading authority which does not exist, and fearing the occurrence of penalties which there are none to enforce. But the mind that dares to extricate itself from these vulgar prejudices, that proves its loyalty to its Creator by devoting all its adoration to his glory– such a spirit as this becomes a master-mind, and that master-mind will invariably find that circumstances are its slaves.”
Vivian Grey was a controversial book when it was first published in five volumes in 1826-27. Disraeli revised later editions of the book, with some passages removed and others changed, but scans of the original edition are available free online, in five PDF volumes, from the Internet Archive:
Volume 1 –
Volume 2 –
Volume 3 –
Volume 4 –
Volume 5 –

“Man is all imagination, and God is man, and exists in us, and we in him. The eternal body of man is the imagination, and that is God himself.”
This is another quote that Neville frequently incorporated into his lectures, usually without citing the author (William Blake) or the work from which it was taken. Sometimes Neville would attribute it to Blake; sometimes, when he didn’t, whomever transcribed the lectures added an attribution in brackets.
A cursory online search reveals the source as “Blake’s Annotations to Berkeley’s Siris,” but that’s only partially correct: these two sentences are actually taken from two different Blake works.
The first sentence, as the online citation states, is from notes that Blake wrote in his copy of the book Siris by Bishop George Berkeley. On page 219 of the book, Berkeley wrote:
“Whence, according to Thestimus… it may be inferred that all beings are in the soul. For, saith he, the forms are the beings. By the form every thing is what it is. And, he adds, it is the soul that imparteth form to matter.”
Blake’s handwritten note accompanying this passage was:
“This is my Opinion but Forms must be apprehended by Sense or the Eye of Imagination (.) Man is all imagination God is man & exists in us & we in him(.)”
As for the second sentence (“The eternal body of man is the imagination, and that is God Himself”), while several other of Blake’s Siris annotations contain variations on the second sentence , the exact quote as Neville presents it here is from Blake’s work The Laocoōn.
An online version of Blake’s Annotations to Berkeley’s Siris is available here:

My Neville Goddard-themed print journal (as of this writing untitled) will be available sometime in February 2023. It will contain annotated transcripts of “Facts Have Overflowed the World” and at least two other annotated lectures, plus other articles about Neville’s work. You can preorder a copy (which will be mailed upon publication) at this link: .
I’ve published an annotated e-book edition of Neville’s lecture “Awake O Sleeper,” which is available as a PDF ebook here: .
If you liked this blog post and wish to support me, the author, you can do so with a donation at my Ko-fi page:

Knowing it’s done

“Your vision is yours; not everyone can see it. A few people might see your vision now. Some might see it later. Many may never see it at all. Do not be swayed. Do not be deterred. Do not be downhearted. Stay focused on your vision and become one with it. Allow the vision to transform you into the global force for good that you are destined to be.”

~ James Weeks, “Across the King’s River”

I don’t type much about “manifesting” because it can tend to come out sounding “coach-y” or “lecture-y.” Also because while I intellectually “know” and understand the principles that Neville Goddard taught, on another level I struggle to transfer those principles into teachable EXPERIENCE.

But I did have this realization: if I have a desired end that I’ve felt as real and assumed is “done,” and it doesn’t seem to be coming forth, there is either one of two possible reasons.

One: either I didn’t fully MOVE into the state I desire or I slipped back into a state of consciousness that denies my end, in which case, as Neville would say, I need to persist (his word, used repeatedly) in my desired end, which basically means I need to know that it’s already done. Whatever I do or don’t do, let it be driven and permeated by my knowledge that my desired end is done.


Two: I moved in consciousness to a desired end, and I am now in what Neville called “the gestation period.” Neville repeatedly quoted James Moffatt’s translation of a verse from the Book of Habbukuk (2:3):

The vision has its own appointed hour
it ripens; it will flower
If it seems long, then wait
For it is sure and it will not be late.

As a Neville mentor of mine, Twenty Twenty, likes to say, “Everything is either an end or a bridge, and if it’s not an end you want, make it a bridge.” In other words, I need to proceed knowing that my desired end is already done, and that anything I do or don’t do is leading to that end. So, again, know that it’s done. Dwell in that knowing and let everything I do (or don’t do) be driven and permeated by that knowing.

No matter what the “reason,” there is only one solution: Know that it’s done.

Funny how that works.

Neville’s Concise Guide To Using The Law

This excerpt is from Neville Goddard’s lecture “Creating One New Man Instead of the Two” (11 April 1969). At this point in his life, Neville was lecturing almost exclusively on what he called “the Promise”– a series of mystical experiences that resulted in his awakening and knowing of himself as God, as paralleled in scripture– to the extent that, when he recognized several audience members whom he had not seen at his lectures in several years, he seemed almost apologetic. “They haven’t heard anything like this,” he said of The Promise, “and so you will tolerate me for a moment to go back and pick them up where we left them off. I left them with the law, not the Promise. For their sake, it is the same thing, only raised to a higher level.” It’s an excellent brief summary of the law in Neville’s own words.

This lecture transcript is included in the book of 1969 lectures entitled The Return of Glory, edited by Natalie Bernet.


“For those who only knew the law, let me now pick it up for you; just the law.

“The law is very simple. There are infinite numbers of states, infinite numbers—the state of health, the state of sickness; the state of wealth, the state of poverty; the state of being known, the state of being unknown. They are only states. You’re always in a state. Every moment of time you are only in a state. The state to which you most often return constitutes your dwelling place. So we all have one state that we feel more at home in that state, and so we return to it moment after moment. That constitutes our dwelling place.

“But if it is not a pleasant state in which to live, we can always get out of it. But we remain in the state and try to get out of it through external means, and that is not what we teach. You don’t get out of it by trying to pull wires from the outside, manipulating things on the outside. You get out of these states simply by a mental adjustment within yourself. As you fell into the present state either deliberately or unwittingly—chances are you did it unwittingly—so you are in a state and you are the life of that state and the state becomes alive and grows like a tree and bears the fruit of that tree. But you don’t like the fruit that you are bearing—it may be the fruit of poverty, may be the fruit of distress, the fruit of all kinds of unlovely things. Well now, how do I detach myself from this unlovely harvest that I’m harvesting all the time?

“I do it by simply an adjustment in my own wonderful human Imagination. I ask myself what do I want instead of what I seem to have. When I name it, I ask myself, how would I see the world if things were as I desired them to be? How would I see them; what would the feeling be like if it were true? When I know exactly what the feeling would be like were it true, I try to catch that feeling. And to aid the feeling I imagine that I’m seeing people that I know well and I allow them to see me as they would see me if what I am feeling were true. I let them see me in my Imagination and when the whole thing is adjusted in my mind’s eye so that they see me as I would see them and it now produces in me the feeling I desire, then I sleep. I fall asleep in that assumption. That assumption is a state, that’s all that it is, it’s a state. Now, let me make that state as natural as I made the former state that I did not like. If I find myself returning to this new state constantly, all of a sudden it becomes natural. As going home tonight, it will seem natural to me to go home and undress and sleep in my familiar bed.

“If tonight I went to some other place, no matter how glorious it is, beautifully furnished and everything at my command, it wouldn’t seem natural. When I leave here to go to San Francisco or New York and go into those lovely hotels, certainly, I pay much more money in these hotels than I pay in rent where I live, but it’s not as comfortable and not as natural. So you go to a hotel and you pay twenty-two, twenty-three dollars a day. Well, I don’t pay that sort of money in my rent, but it doesn’t compare to my natural state where I am. I feel so natural when I go home tonight and just get into my bed, get into my place. Well now, you must make this state just as natural. At first it seems unnatural like buying a new suit or buying a hat: it doesn’t seem natural. So you walk down the street and no one knows you, but you have a new hat, and you really believe that every one who passes by is looking at your hat, that they can see a new hat, and they don’t care whether you are living or not. But you are aware of the fact that it is new and until it becomes an old hat in your mind’s eye you are conscious of the fact that you are wearing a new hat. Well, you’re conscious of the fact that you are wearing a new state until you make it natural. So the state to which you most constantly return constitutes your place of home. I call it your home.

“Now, most of us have this great weakness. We know what we want or we think we know what we want, and we construct it in our mind’s eye, but we never occupy it. We never move into it and make it natural. I call that perpetual construction, deferred occupancy. We don’t occupy it. I can have a lovely place where I think one day I am going to go, but I keep on postponing the day, postponing the day, and I don’t occupy it. ‘I wish so-and-so were’ and I name it. But if I wish so-and-so were as I would like them to be, that’s the state from which I view them. Well, I’ve had the state, I’ve built it, I’ve constructed it, but I don’t occupy it. Perpetual construction, all day long I have the state. ‘If she were only’ and I name it, but I don’t go into the state and view her from that state; I don’t occupy the state. So she remains in my mind’s eye in the unlovely state in which I see her.

“Now that’s the world in which we live. There are only states, an infinite number of states. You can’t think of a thing that you could not reduce to a state, but the life of the state is the individual when he occupies it, because his Imagination gives life to the state. You can’t give life to it from without, because God’s name is I AM. God’s name is not ‘you are’ or ‘they are;’ his eternal name is I AM– that’s the light of the world, that’s the life of the world. So, if I would make a state alive, I must be in it. So I can say I am here. If you are here, what are you seeing? Well, I am seeing her and she is lovely. Things are just as I’ve always desired them to be for her. So that’s how I’m seeing her right now: I’m in the state.

“Now make that state natural. Sleep in that state for her sake and then you’ll make that state and incorporate it into your own lovely state so that whenever you think of her you’re thinking of her from that state. You can take everyone, one after the other, and make it a natural thing for them until finally when you discuss them or refer to them or think of them, it is always from that state. Others may not see them in that light. It doesn’t really matter what they think. I’m quite sure if I took some survey concerning what people think of me in my small world, no two would agree. Some would say, well, he’s a charlatan, why, he’s a deceiver; others would say I think he’s the nearest thing to God that I’ve ever seen. You have all kinds. What a range, from the devil to God, and all about the same person based upon the state in which you are when you’re called upon to define me. And so, you define me based upon your state.

“So, everyone in this world could be what he would like to be if he knows this principle and applies it. We are the operant power; it doesn’t operate itself. I may know it from A to Z, but knowing it is one thing and doing it is another. Can I really do it? Well, I can do it– then do it. Don’t say knowledge is enough. Knowing it will not do it. I am the operant power…

“…Apply the law. Don’t for one second fail to do it, because while we are in the world of Caesar, we must master this principle and live knowing there are only states. There is no such thing as a good man or a bad man. He’s in a good state as he conceives it and the other one is in a bad state as he conceives it, but the occupant of the state is really God. And so as (William) Blake said in his Visions of the Last Judgment: ‘From this you will perceive I do not consider anyone either good or evil, just or unjust, but simply to be those who unknowingly fell into states.‘ They fell into states, identified themselves with the state, and then they were pronounced by others to be good or to be evil. They are only in states.

“So tonight, if you are unemployed or you find it difficult to get promotion in your present employment, or you are in need, remember all the solutions of your present state are still states. I hope I have made clear how you move into a state. You move into a state by knowing how you would see the world if things were as you desire them to be, and then you begin to see them in your mind’s eye as though it were true. And then you sleep in that assumption just as though it is true. That assumption, though at the moment is denied by your reason and your senses, if you persist in it and make it natural, will harden into fact.”

What is METANOIA, and why haven’t you asked me to send you a copy?

The picture above, as they used to say at print newspapers, is my “morgue”: all back issues of my print only ‘zine METANOIA.

I’ve had contact with a couple people who, when I asked if they wanted me to send it to them every couple weeks, seemed to balk, for whatever reason. These aren’t strangers; they’re people whom I consider friends, and yet they seemed hesitant– scared?– to just say “Yeah, send me a copy,” as if NEXT I’d be pestering them for payment, or expecting FEEDBACK of some kind, or they wanted me to send them a link (read again: PRINT ONLY. NO ONLINE!!) or who knows what else… 


This is usually a single page or two pages, two columns, front and back.

So what is it?

The title of this is METANOIA; it means “a radical transformation.” I like the word and I try to embody it in my life and as a writer, so that’s the title I gave it.

I do it for these reasons:

* I am a writer, and writers write.

* Writing, though, is not just putting words on paper or screen. It’s honing a piece, editing it, getting it published, and connecting with readers.

* I’d reached a point, a few years back, where I was writing in my journal and online (mainly through my characters) but not PUBLISHING. 

* I also didn’t like that online writing was ephemeral, too easily ignored.

* I also love getting physical mail: letters, magazines, packages, cards, postcards. I like to hold a piece of paper in my hand that someone thought enough of to send me.

* I also know and have “met” via social media a lot of like-minded people who have given me of themselves in every way imaginable, and I wanted to give them something back. And “gold or silver I cannot offer thee, but that which I have, I will give you freely.” (Or something like that. 😉 ) And as a writer, what I have to give is my writing.

* With all this in mind, two years ago this week, as the first wave of the pandemic hit, I decided to publish this ‘zine.

It would be a writing discipline– I would write, finish, edit, and publish new writing every couple weeks and PUT IT OUT THERE for readers.

It would be print only– that way it wouldn’t get lost in the online weeds of links and blogs and websites– and I would mail those physical copies to people who expressed an interest in me or my writing, or vice versa. 

I didn’t stick strictly to the “every two weeks” schedule the past year or so, as health issues overtook me, but I’m back on that schedule. Issue 31 came out last week; issue 32 will come out NEXT week.

People have paid for it and that is appreciated and it helps me cover the necessary expenses of postage, paper, envelopes, toner, and stuff like this website, but if you want to read it and can’t pay or don’t want to, you’re under NO OBLIGATION to pay.

It’s not a burden on me. It is MY PLEASURE to create this and share it with you.

If you like ME and what I post on social media and on this website, or liked my books, or like my radio show, you will like METANOIA. Each issue contains, generally, an article on something that interests me, a metaphysical article of some kind, fiction pieces from my ongoing character fiction project on social media, a cartoon (yes, I draw that, too; see my posts on The Twins for samples), and whatever quotes I can fit in to fill space.

The topics these past two years have ranged from… let’s see… my uncle Ed, metaphysical lessons in STAR TREK, online shopping, Thoreau’s journal as his TRUE literary magnum opus, John Burns (the “hero of Gettysburg”), the Beatles’ LET IT BE remaster, 60s misogyny in the “good old days,” character development in M*A*S*H, dealing with “Writer’s block,” Penn State football, the silliness of record collecting, how online interactions can sometimes destroy friendships, parenting, French and American cultural norms and faux pas, my process of learning to play a seeming impossible song on the piano, PEANUTS and Charles Schulz and “canon” in story, the lives of blue jays, why I hate the phone, along with the writers and thinkers who stoke me: Neville Goddard, Krishnamurti, Thomas Merton, Henry Miller, Jacques Tati, Orson Welles, and Thoreau (did I mention Thoreau? He is my favorite and appears frequently, even if it’s just a quote).

The metaphysical stuff simply reflects my ongoing life work of reconciling the spiritual with the world. Isn’t that what most of us are trying to do?

Anything in that incomplete topic list that interests you?


It’s print only.

If you’d like to read a copy, here’s the complicated, convoluted process:

Send me your snail mail address and I will send you the latest issue.

That’s all.

If you want a back issue and saw a topic in the list above that interests you, mention that and I’ll send it along. If you want to go random, pick a number between 1 and 31 and I’ll send that back issue.

You are under no obligation to PAY or BUY anything. If you want to subscribe formally (several people have), it’s a buck an issue in the USA. If you want to donate via my ko-fi page, great. If you want to send stamps (as a couple people have), great.

If not any of the above, great.

You’re not even required to READ IT. One of the most bizarre exchanges I’ve had was with someone whom I’d quoted liberally in an issue, and I messaged him telling him and asking if he’d like a copy, since he was quoted in it, and if so just send me his snail mail address and I’d pop it in the mailbox for him. After five or six messages, he didn’t seem to get that I just wanted to give him this. Further, the tone of his replies made me feel like he saw this as ONE MORE ADDED OBLIGATION IN HIS ALREADY BUSY LIFE.

No. This is a gift, from me to you.

If you’re interested, email me ( or use the submit comment feature on this website, or, if you want to pay, you can either get a subscription by becoming a monthy donor or buy back issues.

That’s all there is to it. Honestly.

As my buddy Skip Heller said once about giving away his music on MP3s, a musician’s job is to make music, and a listener’s job is to listen.

As a writer, my job is to write. The reader’s job is to read.

Become a reader of METANOIA!

“Distilled Neville”

(This article originally appeared in issue #16 of my newsletter Metanoia)

With Neville Goddard’s teachings, I find myself often trying to distill the message he put across into the simplest terms possible, so that when I feel “stuck,” I can find a quick and easy way out.

See what you think of this:

Our unconditioned awareness of being is God.

Neville: “When you say ‘I am,’ that’s God.”

Athanasius: “God became man that man might become God.” We are God, the Elohim: “a compound unity, one made up of many.”

This is why the two greatest commandments are said to be “Hear O Israel, the Lord, our God, the Lord is one” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If we are all God, then there is no “other,” and the Golden Rule becomes not prescriptive (“Thou shalt do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), but DEscriptive (“When you do unto others, you are doing unto yourself.”)

When we condition our awareness of being (I AM) with feeling, it is a creative act.

We have been using this principle of creative imagining– bringing forth reality via our assumptions– our whole lives, only we weren’t aware of it.

Neville: “A man does not attract what he wants. He attracts what he is,” or what he feels to be true.

All things bring forth after their kind.

If I feel “I am rich, I am poor, I am healthy, I am ill, I am loved, I am unloved, I am worthy, I am unworthy,” or other things to be true, then they bring forth after their kind; they reproduce in my world.

Few people want to be poor, ill, unloved, or unworthy, but if they feel that they are, then their world will reflect this.

To quote William Blake: “What seems to be is, to those to whom it seems to be, and is productive of the most dreadful consequences, to those to whom it seems to be. But divine mercy steps beyond and redeems us in the body of Jesus.”

The “body of Jesus” is our capacity to create and redeem using our imaginative faculty, or, as the Apostle Paul said, “Jesus Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

The acts that Jesus performed in the Bible were more than just stories of one-off “miracles;” they were intructive parables meant to show us how to use our imaginative powers creatively to bring forth desired ends.

The “good news” of the Gospel is that this principle can be used deliberately. We don’t have to settle for “what seems to be.” We can create a better reality for ourselves and for others by imagining deliberately.

Quoting Blake again, “All that we behold, though it appears without, it is within, in our imagination, of which this world of mortality is but a shadow.”

Neville: “An assumption– though false, though reason denies it and the evidence of my senses denies it– if persisted in will harden into fact.”

If my reality has come forth based on my assumptions –what I feel to be true– then it follows that if I assume (feel) that something is true– even though it’s denied by my senses– and I persist in that assumption, it should come forth in my world.

This is the test that the Apostle Paul called us to.

“Come test yourselves and see. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless, of course, you fail to meet the test.”  (2 Corinthians 13:5)

The method of testing and bringing forth a desired reality is via prayer.

Prayer is not supplication, wishing, or begging.

Prayer is the act of assuming that your desired end is already an accomplished fact.

Neville: “Go to the end. The end is where we begin.”

No matter what we desire, the end is always: How would I feel if my desire was an accomplished fact?

“When you pray, whatsoever you desire, believe that you have already received it and you will.” (Mark 11:24)

And: “But as for you, when you pray, enter into your inner chamber and lock your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret shall himself reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6)

In order to bring forth a desired end, it’s not only necessary to assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled, but also to turn away completely from any undesired fact or reality.

Lot’s wife turned to a pillar of salt when she looked back. (Genesis 19:26) Salt is a preservative. By looking back at undesired facts, we “preserve” them in our world.

Neville: “Don’t accept it as permanent. Don’t even accept it as temporary. Use the law to get out of it.”

Finally: “When Job prayed for his friends, his captivity was lifted, and the Lord gave him twice as much as before.” (Job 42:10)

Since “there is no other,” since “the Lord our God is one,” and since the Golden Rule is descriptive and not prescriptive, the highest use of prayer and imaginative principles is to use them lovingly on behalf of others.

How’s that for a start?

This article originally appeared in issue #16 of my biweekly print-only ‘zine Metanoia.

Metanoia is my biweekly print-only ‘zine, usually two, sometimes four, pages.

To receive the latest issue of it, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to
Max Shenk
39 South Main St, rm 138
White River Junction, VT 05001

You can go to my shop at, where you can get either a subscription or back issues. Or both!

Neville Goddard – CHANGING THE FEELING OF “I” – 1953 lecture transcript

This transcript of one of Neville’s 1953 lectures in Los Angeles is widely available for download as a PDF on various Neville-specific and general metaphysical sites. 

As with so many of the free “transcripts” that are circulating online, it appears that these are not verbatim transcripts (such as those which appear in the six volumes of 1963-1968 transcripts edited by Natalie Bernet and published as Kindle editions) but rather paraphrased documents transcribed from someone’s notes. 

Nonetheless, verbatim or not, the essence of Neville’s teaching comes through in these distilled documents.

As far as I can tell, this is the first lecture in a season series that year. 

I’ve edited and proofread the original document slightly, mainly correcting punctuation where it aided clarity.

Any verbal additions which I felt were necessary for clarity are inside parentheses. 


For the benefit of those who were not present last Sunday, just let me give you a quick summary of the thought expressed here:

We claimed that the world was a manifestation of consciousness; that the individual’s environment, circumstances and conditions of life were only the outpicturing of the particular state of consciousness in which that individual abides. Therefore, the individual sees whatever he is by virtue of the state of consciousness from which he views the world. Any attempt to change the outer world before he changes the inner structure of his mind is to labor in vain. Everything happens by order. Those who help or hinder us, whether they know it or not, are the servants of that law, which constantly shapes outward circumstances in harmony with our inner nature.

We asked you last Sunday to distinguish between the individual identity and the state they occupy. The individual identity is the Son of God. It is that, (when) I speak of you or to you, or speak of myself, I mean really our imagination. That is permanent. It fuses with state and believes itself to be the state with which it is fused, but at every moment of time it is free to choose the state with which it will be identified.

And that brings us to today’s subject, “Changing the Feeling of I,” and I hope I will not get the same reaction that is recorded in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. For we are told that when this was given to the world they all left him, leaving just a handful behind. For when he told them there was no one to change but self, they said this is a hard, hard teaching. It’s a hard thing. Who can hear it? For he said, “No man cometh unto me save I call him.” And then it’s recorded when he repeated it three times they left him, never again to walk with him. And he turned to the few who remained and asked them, “Would you also go?” And they answered and said, “To whom would we go? You have the word of eternal life.”

In other words, it’s so much easier when I can blame another for my misfortune, but now that I am told that no man cometh unto me save I call him, that I am the sole architect of my fortunes and misfortunes, it’s a difficult saying, and so it’s recorded “It’s a hard saying. Who can hear it? Who can grasp it? And who will believe it?”

And so he said, “And now I sanctify myself that they also be sanctified through the truth, for if this is the truth, then there is no one to change, no one to make whole, no one to purify but self.”

And so we start with the “I.”

Most of us are totally unaware of the self that we really cherish. We have never taken one good look at the self, so we don’t know this self, for the “I” has neither face, form, nor figure, but it does mold itself into structure by all that it consents to, all that it believes, and few of us know really what we do believe. We have no idea of the unnumbered superstitions and prejudices that go to mold this inner, formless “I” into a form which is then projected as a man’s environment, as the conditions of life.

So here, read it carefully when you go home:

“No man cometh unto me save I call him. You didn’t choose me; I have chosen you. No man can take away my life; I lay it down myself. There is no power to take from me anything that is part of the inner arrangement of my mind. All that you gave me I have kept and none is lost save the son of perdition or the belief in God, and because nothing can be lost but the belief in loss, I will not now assume loss of anything you have given me that is good. And so I sanctify myself that they be sanctified through the truth.”

And now, how do we go about changing the “I”?

First of all, we must discover the “I” and we do this by an uncritical observation of self. This will reveal a self that will shock you. You will be altogether– I wouldn’t say “afraid,” but ashamed to admit you’ve ever known such a lowly creature. And had it been God Himself who drew near in this despicable form, you would have denied him a thousand times before a single cock would crow. You couldn’t believe that this is the self that you’ve carried around and protected and excused and justified.

Then you start changing this self after, by an uncritical observation, you make the discovery of that self. For the acceptance of self is the essence of the moral problem of the world. It is the epitome of a true outlook on life, for it is the sole cause of everything you observe.

Your description of the world is a confession of the self that you do not know. You describe another, you describe society, you describe anything, and your description of the thing you observe reveals to one who knows this law the being you really are. So you must first accept that self. When that self is accepted, then you can start to change.

It’s so much easier to take the virtues of the Gospel and apply them as the word of life, to love the enemy, to bless those who curse us, and to feed the hungry. But when man discovers the being to be fed, the being to be clothed, the being to be sheltered, the greatest enemy of all is that self, then he is ashamed, completely ashamed that that is the being, for it was easier to share with another something that I possess, to take an extra coat and give it to another, but when I know the truth it’s not that.

I start with the self, having discovered, and start with change of that self.

Now, let me tell you a story. A few years ago in this city I was giving a series of lectures down near that lake -I can’t even recall the name of the lake but it was some Parkview Manor was the place where I spoke, and in that audience was a gentleman who sought an audience before the meeting. And we went across the street into the little park there, and he said to me that he had an insoluble problem. I said, “There is no such thing as an insoluble problem.”

“But,” he said, “you do not know my problem. It’s not a state of health, I assure you; it is look at the skin that I wear.”

I said, “What’s wrong with it; it looks lovely to me.”

He said, “Look at the pigment of my skin. I, by the accident of birth, am now discriminated against. The opportunities for progress in this world are denied me just because of the accident of birth: that I was born a colored man. Opportunities for advancement in every field, neighborhoods that I would like to live in and raise a family I couldn’t move in, where I would like to open up a business I couldn’t move into that area.”

Then I told him my own personal experience: that I came to this country– well, I didn’t have that problem but I was a foreigner in the midst of all Americans. I didn’t find it difficult.

“Yet,” as he reminded me, “but that’s not my problem, Neville. Others have come here speaking with an accent, but they haven’t my skin, and I was born an American.”

Then I told him an experience of mine in New York City. If I were called upon to name a man that I would consider my teacher, I would name Abdullah. I studied with that gentleman for five years. He had the same color skin, the same pigment as this gentleman. He would never allow anyone to refer to him as a colored man. He was very proud of being a negro– (he) didn’t want any modification of what God had made him. He turned to me and he said, “Have you ever seen a picture of the Sphinx?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “It embodies the four fixed quarters of the universe. You have the lion, the eagle the bull and man. And here is man that is the head. The crown of that creature called the Sphinx, which still defies man’s knowledge to unriddle it, was crowned with a human head. And look carefully at the head, Neville, and you will see whoever modeled that head must have been a negro. Whoever modeled it had the face of a negro and if that still defies man’s ability to unravel it, I am very proud that I am a negro.”

I have seen scientists, doctors, lawyers, bankers, from every walk of life seek an audience with old Abdullah, and everyone who came thought themselves honored to be admitted to his home and to receive an interview. If he was ever invited out– and he was– he was always the honored guest.

He said, “Neville, you must first start with self. Find self, don’t be ashamed ever of the being you are. Discover it and start the changing of that self.”

Well, I told this gentleman exactly what Abdullah had taught me: that there was no cause outside of the arrangement of his own mind. If he was discriminated against, it was not because of the pigment of his skin, though he showed me signs as large as all outdoors denying him access to a certain area. The sign is there only because in the minds of some men such patterns are formed and they draw unto themselves what now they would condemn; that there is no power outside the mind of man to do anything to man; and he, by the arrangement of his own mind, by consenting to these restrictions in his cradle and being conditioned slowly through his youth, waking into manhood, believing himself set upon, would have to be set upon, but “no man cometh unto me save I call him.”

So then someone comes to condemn or to praise. They couldn’t come unless I call them. Not a man called Neville, but that secret being that is not called Neville. The secret being that is the sum total of all of my beliefs, all of the things that I consent to, that form a pattern of structure, that secret being draws unto itself things in harmony with itself.

Well, that man went away and wrestled with himself. He couldn’t believe everything I told him, not that night, but last Sunday morning in the lobby, he came forward and we renewed the friendship. He took me next door to show me the fruit of this teaching.

He said, “Neville, it took me almost three years to really overcome that fixed idea that I, by the accident of birth, would be a secondary citizen, but I overcame it. Now here is my office on Wilshire Boulevard. I picked this one not because it was the only one offered; four equally wonderful spots were offered me. I took this one because it had greater telephone facilities, but the others were equally good. Now here is my office. Now you couldn’t judge my income from this office, lovely as it is. Everything is nice about it, but, Neville, this year I will net a quarter of a million dollars.”

Well, in America that is still a fabulous sum of money. It would be staggering in any other part of the world, but even in fabulous America a man to net a quarter of a million is really up in the very highest of brackets. And that was the man that a few years ago told me the whole vast world was against him by reason of the accident of birth. He knows now he is what he is by virtue of the state of consciousness with which he is identified, and the choice is his to go back to the restrictions of his childhood when he believed the story, or to continue in the freedom that he has found.

So you and I can be anything in this world we desire to be if we will clearly define our aim in life and constantly occupy that aim. It must be habitual. The concept we hold of self that is noble must not be put on just for a moment and taken off when we leave this church. We feel free here; we feel that we have something in common; that’s why we are here; but are we going to wear the noble concept we now hold of self when we go through the door and enter that bus, or are we going to return to the restrictions that were ours prior to coming here?

The choice is ours and the hardest lesson to learn is that there is no one in this world that can be drawn into your world unless you, and you alone, call him.

So do not do what they did thousands of years ago, for that is the beginning of the secession of the great truth. So we are told they turned away from it, never again to walk with it, and the few who remained didn’t like it either, but where would they go if this is the word of eternal truth? Not that it’s true for this day and age, but if this is the law of being, and in all the dimensions of my being it holds good, if this is eternally true, then let me learn the lesson now, though I wrestle with myself as he did for three years.

So, the changing of the feeling of “I” is a selective thing because unnumbered states are infinite states, but the “I” is not the state. The “I” believes itself to be the state when it enters and fuses with it– so he was presented with a state and, without the faculty of discrimination in his youth, he fused with the state and believed these restrictions were true, and it took him three years to disentangle the “I” from these fixed ideas with which he had lived for so many years.

Now you may take only a moment or you, too, may take your three years. I can’t tell you how long it’s going to take you, but I’ll tell you this much. It can be measured by the feeling of naturalness. You can wear a feeling until it’s natural. The moment the feeling becomes natural, it will begin to bear fruit within your world.

So I told this story at a small gathering here in the city, and not very many asked questions about it, but three people asked: “But he must have had money before. He must have known the right people. He must in some way have had some substance to start it, because how can you go out to loan a hundred million dollars and call that a real fact of being that you have that to loan, and tell me you didn’t have someone who had it or you, yourself, didn’t have it?”

I did not ask the gentleman about the individual facts of the case. I went into the office, I saw it, I didn’t look at his books; he volunteered this information, and gave me the figure of a quarter of a million net for the year. I have not checked or in any way verified the statement; I believe it implicitly. But I will not go along with those who believe that, unless you have certain things to start with, you can’t apply this law. You can start now from scratch and choose the being you want to be. You aren’t going to change the pigment of your skin but you will find your accent or the pigment of skin or your so-called racial background will not be a hindrance, for if a man is ever hindered it can only be the state of consciousness in which he abides that hinders him.

Man is freed or constrained by reason of the state of mind in which he persists. If you persist in it… well, then I will say, “persist in it,” but I warn you no one cares, and that is an awful blow when a man discovers that no one– no one but himself– really cares. So we find ourselves weeping with ourselves in the hope of getting others to weep with us. And what an awful shock when the day arrives we discover that no one really ever cared. They will give us some little listening ear for a moment just as they were passing by, but they really didn’t care.

When we make that discovery we shake ourselves out of it and boldly appropriate the gift our Father gave us before that the world was.

So let me show you the gift. You’ve read your Lord’s Prayer possibly daily, but you read it as a prayer from a translation of a translation which does not reveal the sense of the evangelist.

The real translation you will find in Ferrar Fenton’s work, where, in the original, it is written in the imperative passive mood, which is like a standing order, a thing to be done absolutely and continuously.

So that you can look now upon your universe as one vast inter-knit machinery where all things happen: there isn’t a thing to become; all things are taking place, so it is written in this manner:

“Thy will must be being done. Thy kingdom must be being restored.”

It is the only way you could express it if you would express the imperative passive mood. But from the Latin– from which our translation was made– there is no first aorist of the imperative passive mood. So we have it in the way we have it, but it does not reveal the intent of the mysteries.

If you will see all things are now, you don’t become; you simply select the state that you would occupy. Occupying it, you seem to become, but it is already a fact, every aspect of that state in its most minute detail; it’s worked out and taking place. You, by occupying the state, seem to go through the action of unfolding that state, but the state is completely finished and taking place.

So now you can choose the being you want to be, and, by choosing a being other than what you are now expressing, you start the change of the feeling of “I.”

Now, how will I know that I have changed the feeling of “I”? By beginning first with an uncritical observation of my reactions to life and then noticing my reactions when I think I am identified with my choice. If I assume that I am the man that I want to be, let me observe my reactions. If they are as they were, I have not identified myself with my choice, for my reactions are automatic, and so, if I am changed, I would automatically change my reactions to life.

So the changing of the feeling of “I” results in a change of reaction, which change of reaction is a change of environment and behavior.

But let me warn you now. A little alteration of mood is not a transformation; it’s not a real change of consciousness. Because as I change my mood for the moment, it can quickly and rapidly be, I would say, replaced by another mood in the reverse direction.

When I say that “I was changed,” as that gentleman changed his mood, his basic mood, his state of consciousness, it means that having assumed that I am what the moment denied, what my reason denied, that I remain in that state long enough to make that state stable. So that all of my energies are flowing from that state.

I am no longer thinking of that state. I am thinking from that state.

So that wherever a state grows so stable as to definitely expel all of its rivals, then that central, habitual state of consciousness from which I think defines my character and is really a true transformation or change of consciousness. Whenever I reach that state of stability, watch my world mold itself then in harmony with this inner change. And men will come into my world, people will come to aid and they will think they are initiating the urge to help. They are playing only their part. They must do what they do because I have done what I did. Having moved from one state into the other, I have altered my relationship relative to the world round about, and that changed relationship compels a change in behavior relative to my world. So they have to act differently toward me.

So in changing the “I,” you start with desire, which we will unfold and elaborate on tomorrow night. For it starts with desire. Desire is the spring of action, for you must want to be other than what you are. We fail because we do not fall in love enough with an idea. We aren’t, I would say, moved enough to want to be other than what we are.

If I could get you to be completely in love with some state to the point where it haunted the mind, I could almost prophesy that you would in the not distant future externalize that state within your world. And the reason we fail (is that) we aren’t hungry enough to change. For either we do not know the law, or we haven’t the urge or the hunger to really bring about the change. For the changing of the feeling of “I” results in the change of reaction, which change of reaction results in a change of world.

If you like your world and you are complacent about it, you haven’t started on the road of the mysteries, for the very first beatitude appeals to one who is not complacent:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

You must be poor in spirit, not complacent, not satisfied. The man who thinks that, by reason of birth, the religion that he inherited at birth, is good enough for me, that he is not dissatisfied– he is not, I would say, moved– that being is complacent and therefore he is not poor in spirit; he is very rich in spirit. Theirs is not the kingdom of God.

For if I could stir you, make you dissatisfied with self, then you will recognize that self and set about to change it. For the only field of activity for man is within himself and on himself. You do not work on the other. The day you change self, that day you change your world.

Now I see my time is going to its quick end. And so in the remaining minute I have left here let me not urge you, because if you come to the meeting tomorrow night not really hungry, you wouldn’t benefit, but I do hope that many of you are there. Even if you are stirred to the point of trying to, I would say, disprove what I told you, I would accept that challenge for in the attempt to disprove it, I know if you were sincere in your attempt, you would prove it.

So I hope many of you will come and take this feast with us. We are here in the city (Los Angeles) at the Ebell for 15 nights, Monday thru Friday, as Mr. Smith told you, for three consecutive weeks. If you can’t take all– and I do hope many of you will take all– then pick out the title s that appeal to you.

Tomorrow night to me is basic; it is the importance of defining an aim in this world, having a goal, for without an aim you are aimless. And you were warned in the Book, or I would say, in the Epistle of James that “the double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let not such a man believe that he shall receive anything of the Lord; for he is like a wave that is driven and tossed by the wind.” That man never reaches his goal. So you must have an aim, and tomorrow night we will show you the importance of defining desire. There are certain schools who teach you to kill out desire; we teach you to intensify desire and show you the reason for such teaching, show you what the Bible teaches about desire.

And now we will come to the help that many of you have asked for today.

Those who were not here on Sunday: let me remind you it is a very simple technique. As I told you on Sunday, any time that you exercise your imagination, and do it lovingly on behalf of another, you are mediating God to man.

So we sit quietly and we simply become imitators of our Father. And He called the world into being by being the thing he would call. And so we sit and we listen as though we heard someone congratulating us on having found what we seek. So we go to the end of the matter and we listen just as though we heard, and we look as though we saw, and we try in this manner to feel ourselves right into the situation of our answered prayer, and there we wait in the silence just for about two minutes, and so they will lower the lights to aid you. And let me remind you if you want to clear your throat, please do so. If you want to shift your position in the chair, do so. Feel as though you are alone at home, because if you don’t and you try not to disturb the neighbor, you will not be able to exercise your imagination on behalf of anyone.

So now I will take the chair and just simply listen attentively, just as though you heard. I’ll make you this promise: the day you are very still in mind and really become attentive, you will hear as coming from without what really you are whispering from within yourself.