What Lester Discovered…In His Own Words
“I was at the end of my rope. I was told not to take a step unless I absolutely had to because there was a possibility that I could drop dead at any moment.
This was a terrible, shocking thing to suddenly be told that I couldn’t be active anymore, having been so active all my life. It was a horrible thing.
An intense fear of dying overwhelmed me, the fear that I might drop dead any minute. This stayed with me for days. I went through a real, horrible, low, spinning period there, in the grip of intense fear of dying or of being a cripple for the rest of my life in that I wouldn’t be able to be active. How could I take care of all that, and take care of myself!? I felt that life would not be worthwhile any more.
This caused me to conclude with determination, 'Either I get the answers, or I’ll take me off this earth. No heart attack will do it!' I had a nice easy way to do it, too. I had morphine the doctors gave me for my kidney stone attacks.
After several days of this intense fear of dying, I suddenly realized, 'Well, I’m still alive. As long as I’m alive, there’s hope. As long as I’m alive, maybe I can get out of this. What do I do?'
Well, I was always a smart boy, always made the honor roll. Even got myself a four-year scholarship to Rutgers University at a time when scholarships were very rare through competitive examinations. But what does this avail me? Nothing! Here I am with all this brilliance, as miserable and scared as can be.
Then I said, 'Lester, you were not only not smart, you were dumb! Dumb! Dumb! There’s something wrong in your intellect. With all your knowledge, you’ve come to this bottom end! Drop all this knowledge you’ve so studiously picked up on philosophy, psychology, social science, and economics! It is of no avail! Start from scratch. Begin all over again your search for the answers.
And with an extreme desperation and intense wanting out—not wanting to die, I began to question, 'What am I? What is this world? What is my relationship to it? What do I want from it?'
Well, what is happiness?
But I am loved. I know several very desirable girls with beauty, charm and intellect who want me. And I have the esteem of my friends. Yet, I’m miserable!’
I sensed that the closest thing related to happiness was love. So I began reviewing and reliving my past love affairs, looking at the points where the little happiness that I had were. I began to pull up and dissect all my high moments of loving.
Suddenly, I got an inkling that it was when I was loving that I had the highest feeling!
I remembered one evening, a beautiful balmy evening, in the mountains when I was camping with Virginia. We were both lying on the grass, both looking up at the sky, and I had my arm around her. The nirvana, the perfection of the height of happiness was right there. I was feeling how great love is for Virginia! How wonderful is knowing all this nature! How perfect a setting!
Then I saw that it was my loving her that was the cause of this happiness! Not the beauty of the setting, or being with Virginia.
Then I immediately turned to the other side. Boy it was great when she loved me! I remembered the moment when publicly this beautiful, charming girl told the world that she approved of Lester, she loved Lester—and I could feel that nice feeling of approval. But I sensed that it was not as great as what I had just discovered. It was not a lasting feeling. It was just for the moment. In order for me to have that feeling continuously, she had to continue saying that.
So, this momentary ego approval was not as great as the feeling of loving her! As long as I was loving her, I felt so happy. But when she loved me, there were only moments of happiness when she gave me approval.
Days of further cogitation gradually revealed to me that this was correct! I was happier when I loved her than I was when I got that momentary ego-satisfaction when she loved me. Her loving me was a momentary pleasure that needed constant showing and proving on her part, while my loving her was a constant happiness, as long as I loved her.
I concluded that my happiness equated to my loving! If I could increase my loving, then I could increase my happiness! This was the first inkling I had as to what brings about happiness. And it was a tremendous thing because I hadn’t had happiness. And I said, 'Gee, if this is the key to happiness, I’ve got the greatest!' Even the hope of getting more and more happiness was a tremendous thing, because this was the number one thing I wanted—happiness.
That started me on weeks and weeks of reviewing my past love affairs. I dug up from the past, incident after incident when I thought I was loving, and I discovered that I was being nice to my girlfriends, trying to get them to love me, and that that was selfish. That was not really love. That was just wanting my ego bolstered!
I kept reviewing incidents from the past, and where I saw that I was not loving, I would change that feeling to loving that person. Instead of wanting them to do something for me, I would change it to my wanting to do something for them. I kept this up until I couldn’t find any more incidents to work on.
This insight on love, seeing that happiness was determined by my capacity to love, was a tremendous insight. It began to free me, and any bit of freedom when you’re plagued feels so good. I knew that I was going in the right direction. I had gotten hold of a link of the chain of happiness and was determined not to let go until I had the entire chain.
I felt a greater freedom.
There was an easier concentration of my mind because of it. And I began to look better at my mind. What is my mind? What is intelligence?
Suddenly, a picture flashed of amusement park bumper-cars that are difficult to steer so that they continually bump into each other. They all get their electrical energy from the wire screen above the cars through a pole coming down to every car.
The power above was symbolic of the overall intelligence and energy of the universe coming down the pole to me and everyone else, and to the degree we step on the gas do we use it. Each driver of the cars is taking the amount of energy and intelligence that he wants from that wire, but he steers his car blindly and bumps into other cars, and bumps and bumps.
I saw that if I chose to, I could take more and more of that overall intelligence.
And so I dug into that. I began to examine thinking and its relationship to what was happening. And it was revealed that everything that was happening had a prior thought behind it and that I never before related the thought and the happening because of the element of time between the two.
When I saw that everything that was happening to me had a thought of it before it happened, I realized that if I could grab hold of this, I could consciously determine everything that was happening to me!
And above all, I saw that I was responsible for everything that had happened to me, formerly thinking that the world was abusing me! I saw that my whole past life, and all that tremendous effort to make money and in the end, failing, was due only to my thinking!
This was a tremendous piece of freedom, to think that I was not a victim of this world, that it lay within my power to arrange the world the way I wanted it to be, that rather than being an effect of it, I could now be at cause over it and arrange it the way I would like it to be!
That was a tremendous realization, a tremendous feeling of freedom!
I was so ill when I started my searching; I had one foot in the grave. And when I saw that my thinking was cause for what was happening to me, I immediately saw my body from my chin down to my toes as perfect. And instantly, I knew it was perfect! I knew the lesions and adhesions of my intestine due to perforated ulcers were undone. I knew everything within me was in perfect running order.
And it was.
Discovering that my happiness equated to my loving, discovering that my thinking was the cause of things happening to me in my life gave me more and more freedom. Freedom from unconscious compulsions that I had to work, I had to make money, I had to have girls. Freedom in the feeling that I was now able to determine my destiny, I was now able to control my world, I was now able to arrange my environment to suit me. This new freedom lightened my internal burden so greatly that I felt that I had no need to do anything.
Plus, the new happiness I was experiencing was so great! I was experiencing a joy that I had never known existed. I had never dreamed happiness could be so great.
I determined ‘If this is so great, I’m not going to let go of it until I carry it all the way!’ I had no idea how joyous a person could be.
So, I began digging further on how to extend this joy. I began further changing my attitudes on love. I would imagine the girl I wanted most marrying one of my friends, or the boy I would want her to marry least, and then enjoy their enjoying each other. To me, this was the extreme in loving, and if I could achieve it, it would give me more of this wonderful thing that I was experiencing.
And so I worked on it. I took a particular fellow, Burl, and a particular girl, and I wouldn’t let go until I could really feel the joy of their enjoying each other.
Then I knew I had it—or almost had it.
Then later on, I had further tests of this in talking to people who were opposing me no end when I was trying to help them. I would consciously feel the greatest love for them when they were attacking me. And the joy of loving them was so wonderful, I would, without any thought, thank them so profusely for having given me the opportunity of talking with them, that it threw them into a dither.
The glory of knowing what you are. It's a tremendous experience, it's an ecstasy, a euphoria. There are no real words to describe it because, well, we're in an age where these things are not experienced and therefore not understood, so how can there be words for things that are not understood?"
There are no words to describe these feelings, they're so beyond present understanding. So you pick the words you know best to describe it and that's it. Paramahansa Yogananda uses the words 'ever-new joy welling up every second,' and that's a practical way of describing it. At first, it's a joy that spills over every second, just keeps pouring out, pouring out—you feel as though you can't contain it. Later on, it resolves itself into a very profound peace, the most peaceful peace you could ever imagine. It's a delicious peace which is far more comfortable than ever-new joy. But please, get the ever-new joy!"
It's very easy to get stuck in the ever-new joy state. That's what they call the ananda sheath. It's the last veil we have to remove. It is the last wall we must break through. When you start this ever-new joy, it's so good you just want to continue it. Also, you have no feeling of need to change, everything is so wonderful. But it isn't the final state. The final state is the peace that passeth all understanding. It's a deep, deep peace. You move in the world, the body moves, but you have absolute peace all the time. Bombs could be dropping all around you and you have that perfect peace, regardless of what's going on."
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