Raj at Asilomar - 1996
(My question to Raj)
QUESTION: Hello, Raj,
RAJ: Good evening.
QUESTION: I am totally ecstatic to be here. You have touched on… just rarely you have mentioned little things like: "Well, why don't you just stay around for 500 years or a 1000 years." And previously I had studied things that talked about what we call physical immortality. And when I talk to people who are into the Course and into listening to you and when we speak of Awakening or Eternal Life, that we still think of it in terms of looking like we would still drop our bodies, like what it looks like to most of us now as death. And I'm feeling that there is a possibility of it not having to be that way. That we could actually wake up here and now and continue in what looks like our present form. I feel that we may at that point have a choice to materialize and dematerialize at will for whatever purposes necessary in the moment.
RAJ: It would not be a matter of materializing and dematerializing because you will never for a moment be minus the visibility and tangibility of you. You may move it from this place to that place instantaneously and to the one viewing you from the place you left it may appear to them that your body dematerialized in that it disappeared. But for you, you would simply find it instantaneously in the new location.
No I'm very glad that what I have been saying for so long is beginning to register with people. (Applauds).
There's just no way to drop a body. And whenever you wake up whether it's now or at a point after which it seems that you've passed on, when you wake up you will find that life is eternal. That you will be forever identified without any further potential for experiencing an illusion called death. And like I've been saying if it's inevitable that you're going to do it, why don't you do it now?
And I've also pointed out that two lifetimes or ten lifetimes from now you are still not going to find yourself anymore capable of waking up than you do right now, because waking up isn't something that you will acquire, it's something that you will allow. And what you are allowing will be something you don't comprehend before you let it happen, which is why I have spent the time that I have spent in this gathering talking about the fact that there is a sense or feeling of risk involved in letting go of control--in letting go of what you presently believe--because until you make room for the conscious experience of you in your Right Mind by neglecting any longer to attempt to do anything on your own.
PAUL: I'm sorry I lost it…. Just a moment That's me Paul saying just a moment.
(There was what seemed like about 10 or 15 minutes of silence.)
This is me, Paul. I've just had a strange experience. When we used to do private conversations over the phone or in person, sometimes when I would care about what Raj was going to say, once I would get to know people pretty well, and they were friends, then if I could tell if he was going to be firm or he was going to say something that I knew them well enough to know that they would have a reaction to, then in that sense of caring about how they would receive what he was saying I would begin to resist what he was going to say, or not simply relax and let him say it. And almost always when that happened, and it was very seldom when it did, but when it did happen usually within 20 minutes or so I became exhausted. And it was like, the only way I can explain it was like this huge door came down and closed and I couldn't hear him. I mean I could hear him but there was no way for me to hear him saying whatever the answer was that he would be saying to the person on the phone. And so whenever that happened I always indicated that we would have to stop because I would never bluff my way through.
Now I've had a similar experience here right in the middle of while he was answering you, all of a sudden it stopped and there was no way I could hear any further information in response to your question, except I haven't been--I checked with him--and I haven't been resisting in any way what he was going to say. But he has indicated to me that it's like I've run out of gas. That doesn't mean I'm tired. But we're simply at a point today where we can't continue. And so I need to share that with you. And I'm comfortable with that. So we will end at this point for today. And in the morning we will let you ask whatever further question you have around this subject that he hasn't covered yet, or that you might like further explanation about. I'm curious to hear the answer myself.
QUESTION: Thank you. And I love you, Paul.
PAUL: Thank you.
RAJ: Good morning. A few of you expressed a concern last night that perhaps some feeling or thought you were holding or something that you had expressed had interfered with the continuance of the gathering last evening when we broke. And I want to assure you that that is not the case, that Paul was simply tired.
So, Pam, where are you? We will begin with your question that we were addressing last night.
QUESTION: Good morning.
RAJ: Good morning.
QUESTION: Now let’s see if I can remember my question. Okay. Specifically one of the things that you had mentioned briefly on a few tapes is been the idea that we could possibly live to be 500 or 1,000 years old. And I have been involved and studied such subjects as physical immortality. And we talk about Awakening… I still get the feeling that people think of what happens when we Awaken would be that we would go through the traditional idea of what death looks like. In other words, that this body would be left behind to where it would be buried by those who are looking at that body, as opposed to the possibility that we do not leave that discarded form. And I think we would all like some clarity on those ideas.
RAJ: Well, let me begin by saying that death is abnormal. (Applauds) The focus of attention shouldn’t really be on living 500 years or 1,000 years, or 10,000 years. The focus really should be on living fully now. However, if you will all begin to consider what I am telling you is a fact—that death is abnormal—then that becomes something just like disease, which needs to be healed, the belief in the necessity of dying needs to be healed. And the way healing occurs is always a matter of a shift of consciousness.
So, instead of seeking immortality—because you are already all immortal—I encourage you to seek the fullness of the experience of Life now. If death isn’t inevitable, and if it isn’t the stepping-stone to enlightenment, then that will change how you exist in the moment, because you won’t be able to say, "Well, when I die, I’ll go to heaven, so, if I dally a little bit longer in ignorance, big deal!"
If death isn’t the stepping-stone to anything, and if it is unnatural, then that really puts the focus of your Awakening—the focus of any fullness of life that you would look to in the hereafter—in the now, which is where it has needed to be all along. You need to approach today as though today is the day to wake up!
If there’s no single event in the future which is going to thrust you into enlightenment, then there’s nothing to wait for in the future. Therefore, if you want to experience improvement, you’re going to have to give your attention to improvement in the moment you’re living. And that’s what we’ve been talking about all weekend—how to improve the moment in which you are living. And the way to improve the moment in which you are living is through love.
You can’t say, "Well, in the sweet bye and bye my difficult husband will wake up, and so if I delay loving him until then, I’ll be able to love him then." If, in the sweet bye and bye, he is not going to be enlightened because of the fact that the "bye and bye" has arrived, then your delay in loving him, or in loving each other, is a complete waste of time—time that should have been spent having an object of your affection, and caring enough about him or your fellow man to hang in there with him with the intent to look at him with innocent eyes, nondefensively. Why? So that you might be the presence of Love which is transformational and which makes it easier for your brother to realize he doesn’t need to maintain his defenses any longer and can allow for a shift in him.
So, forever you have been. Forever you have existed—your life didn’t start a certain number of years ago, here. And forever you will be. So, you are already as eternal as you will ever be. You are at this instant Eternal Beings.
Remind yourself of that every morning when you wake up. Remind yourself of it because you have forgotten, and you believe that you aren’t. You need that little jog of your memory: "I am already eternal."
Well, if you’re already eternal, then eternality isn’t something for you to achieve, it’s something for you to start embodying, by being now in a new way.
So, here’s another apple cart that’s overturned. And the apple cart that’s overturned is that you will somehow automatically, through an event called death, be transformed. You won’t be. You won’t be transformed. You won’t experience transformation until, right now; you begin to behave like what you Are, instead of delaying it by saying, "Well, this is all an illusion." Or, "My soul is inhabiting a material body, and this body is a real impediment to my experience of my spirituality. All I can do is make the best of it until I drop this body. And thank God that I have spiritual truths to make this strenuous journey more pleasant!"
Can you see that all that means is that Eternal Beings are imagining that they are not eternal? That Christs, whose visibility and tangibility identifies the presence of God, are saying, "I have a soul that is different from my body, and my body keeps my Christ-hood from showing, and I’m stuck with that. But, you know what? I’ll think loving thoughts, and I’ll smile loving smiles, and I will behave as though I am the Christ, even though we all know I’m not. The best I can do in this lifetime is be Christ-like—use good manners, not be unpleasant with my neighbor…"
But you are the Christ, and what you’re experiencing is the Kingdom of Heaven, and you already are eternal. So, at the bottom line, if you’re experiencing anything different from that right now, all you’re experiencing is a bunch of ideas which are contrary to the Truth, which you are believing and holding yourself to. And you’re all just being a bunch of actors! You’re being the Christ, acting like a "mortal."
Now, if death is unnatural, and if it is an illusion—and I tell you that it is an illusion—and if it isn’t the stepping-stone to enlightenment, then you’re stuck with the obligation to stop being Christ-like, and start being the Christ that you Are. (Applauds from a guy I remember who always introduced himself as Christ Jim and would acknowledge me as Christ Pam. He did this with everyone.)
As I’ve been saying since the beginning of this Gathering, that isn’t always easy, because you’re so committed to your imaginative sense of who you are, and you all have created little rules of the "game of being mortal." It’s like the old game, "Let’s Pretend", except now you believe your pretensions. And you have all agreed to bind each other to those pretensions, because the game is so stimulating, even though it scares you to death. Scares you to death? (Raj was making a fun and had to repeat it in a question to get the audience to laugh.)
What is Love? It’s you, remembering that you’re the Christ, and reminding your brother and sister that he and she are the Christ, and neglecting to play the game of mortal humanhood any longer. And when you remember that you’re the Christ, the manner in which you will remind your brothers and sisters that they are the Christ will not be in the old way that you, as an ego, tried to teach each other something. It will be through an expression of tenderness, compassion, patience, and love. When you say, "no," it will not be a judgment, but a simple statement of fact, stating your position, and it will not be heard as a put-down or as a judgment. You will not lose your integrity in the process. And this is the way you uncover the eternal life which you are incapable of having an experience different from.
You are incapable of successfully having an experience different from eternal life. That means that you are experiencing your eternality at this very moment, even though you’ve imagined that it is a moment in a span of years that began at birth and will end at death.
The way the illusion of birth and death will be undone is when you begin to acknowledge your eternality now, and begin to behave on the basis of what that really means—that it isn’t an achievement which is going to occur in the future, and it’s not a gift which will be bestowed upon you by God when you have finally earned it.
If the gift has already been given to you and you’re not experiencing it, it means you haven’t opened the gift. Does that state it clearly? So, what are you faced with? Nothing but opening the gift and receiving it. But, if you imagine that it’s a gift which will be given next Christmas, or next lifetime—even though it has been given—you won’t touch it. And so, that’s why I’m telling you, the gift is in your face! It is already the fact about you. Contemplate what that means, and see what changes that brings to the way in which you live the moment you’re in.
If there’s not a prize at the end of the road, and if you were going for a prize at the end of the road, now what you do in the road, right where you are will change. If being where you are on the road isn’t a part of getting to the prize, then either life at this point in the road is totally meaningless or the fact is that it’s totally Meaningful, and it needs to be taken hold of in its fullness today—here at Asilomar, in those chairs or wherever you are when you get home. The fullness needs to be taken hold of now because it’s not ever going to come in the future.
Again, if you get up on Christmas morning and you don’t look under the Christmas tree, you’re not going to see anything to open, and you’ll wait for next Christmas. And if you always think it’s going to be coming next Christmas, the gifts will go unopened that are already there.
Now, if there isn’t any "next" Christmas, what does that say about today? Well, it isn’t leading toward anything particularly good, is it? Again, that can be very discouraging…or one can say, "Well, I’m going to open my eyes and look under the Christmas tree that’s right in front of me."
You’ve got to start looking for the fullness of Being now! The ultimate is happening now! But everyone is so locked into the definitions of everything that you’ve given, and that you’re so sure of, that it doesn’t even occur to you that there is more of Reality to be experienced now. And that doesn’t just mean Reality "out-there," it means the Reality of each one of you right now.
You are the Christ right now. You are the full, unlimited expression of God at this very instant. You are the ultimate of What You Are right now, even though you are insisting on imaginations about yourself, and claiming that those imaginations are what are really true. And part of those imaginations is that you will grow old and die, and immortality will be gained next Christmas…next lifetime.
And so you are like the Christ who got up here last night and pretended he was the ego. (At entertainment night there was a professional comedian who did a skit called "Miraj the ego." It was hilarious.)
I think you get the picture.