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a conversation with David Truman

The following conversation addresses feelings many of us share: the yearning for higher things, and the frustration of not being able to reach the spiritual heights we crave. The conversation contains practical advice about how to change the habits of behavior and patterns of thought that hold us down.

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Q: These days, I look at my life, and I'm so FAR from where I want to be. I see my shortcomings, and I also see how the whole world seems to be far from what I want.

David: The world as we know it is ego's paradise -- or hell. It is certainly hell for the soul to behold what ego creates, and to intuit, at least, what it prevents. You are right to be pained, in that respect, because yes, ego IS garbage -- and all its ideas stink, wherever they are found. You have begun, obviously, to appreciate that.

Better late than never to realize that garbage is garbage. Never a moment too soon! When you've got your hands up to your elbows in garbage, your soul's reaction is "Yech!" That's great, but the question is, what will you do now? Will you pull your hands out of the mess, or just sit there repeating, "Yech, yech, yech"?

When we speak of taking your hands out of the garbage, we're not talking about running away from this world. Ego-garbage exists within as well as without. It's the stuff within we ought to fix. So don't worry about everyone ELSE. Worry first and foremost about yourself. Physician, heal thyself!

How long does it take, once people figure out that their ego-garbage is yucky, to let go of it? You COULD just spend the rest of your life going, "Yech, yech, yech!" but wouldn't it be better to fix the problem?

Often in life, it is not ABILITY that counts, but AGILITY. Agility, in this case, means changing direction. A person's thinking should be flexible. When they reach an impasse, they've got to be willing to change course.

The appropriate response to inner garbage is simply to throw it out. But it is like a stray dog that is bonded to you by force of habit. So, for a while, you have to KEEP ON throwing it out, over and over.

Q: How true that is! I read beautiful things and I get all inspired; I want to change the way I think, the way I respond, and all of that. I make all these resolves before I go to sleep. But then the next day happens, and before I know it, I'm right back in my old patterns.

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David: Obviously, you strongly intuit GREAT potentials in yourself and in your world. You want beautiful things, and you want to give beauty to the world. But that mountain of inner garbage is obstructing your view and polluting your action. So, if you're NOT busy shoveling down the garbage, you'll continue to yearn for things you can't reach BECAUSE of the pile. Therefore, the first order of business is definitely garbage collection and disposal.

So for now, you should not think so much about "what I want" or "the beauty I am missing out on." Instead, think to yourself, "What use is cosmic beauty potential to a person in mud up to their neck?" Then start shoveling away that mental/emotional garbage! Wisely and efficiently, throw away every limiting idea you think and believe -- about anything. Do that with a strong will, and soon you'll be able see over the top of the pile. THEN you will see, much more accurately, the possibilities out there. And, based on that seeing, you can figure out what's next. But the pile MUST come down below eye level before you can see clearly!

Q: Get OUT of the mud THEN worry about what's possible.

David: Right! As it is, your present self-image is a scary costume, and that creates no end of trouble for you. It's like this: You put on a werewolf outfit, and come out to entertain your two-year-old girl. She screams and runs away. Seeing her terror, you go to the bathroom and look at yourself in the mirror. You too, are terrified by the mask, and run away screaming. The moral of the story is this: It's important to get that terrible outfit OFF. How can you get close to anyone when have that horrible mask on -- that horrible false self-image which you and they believe? You can walk around in that mask as long as you want, but all it will do is worsen the trauma for everyone around you. So take it off, and get down to your real face! And, the ONLY way to get down to your real face is to get rid of that false face. That false face IS the beliefs of the ego.

Here's the challenge: When you are heavily invested in your mask, it's very difficult to get it off. You must first UNbuy your buy-in. You must release your belief in it.

As long as the mask stays on, trauma continues. And that trauma is a constant annoyance; it holds you down. That's why you have to get rid of it. Let me give you another example to show the need to lighten the negative load.

Here's a well-meaning gangster. Maybe he's a swell guy at heart -- maybe even a Bodhisattva. But he's up to his neck in shady gangland activities. He owns a whole bunch of racketeering businesses, dubious massage parlors, numbers, the whole bit. And then, on top of it all, being a good Catholic, he wants to be a priest.

Now let's say you are the friend of this would-be priest. And looking at the whole picture, you want to give him some advice as to how to make his transition into priesthood. You say, "Luigi, I know you want to be a priest. And I also know you think you can do it all: stay in the family business AND become a priest. But there are some problems there. Business, it's a constant headache. If you try to keep running all these rackets, you've got knuckleheads and goons to order around, you've got dangerous rivals -- the whole mess. You may even have to ice some guys now and then, just to keep things on the level. It's annoying. Sure, God forgives everything, but too much business on your mind will definitely disturb your meditation. So my advice is, you might want to lighten your load before you go to the seminary. Sell the numbers, sell the massage parlors, and make a nice contribution to the church. Capiche?"

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Q: Wow!

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David: Now let me tell you how that crazy story relates to your situation. You're weighed down by old egoic patterns that you've invested in for years. And now they keep coming up and causing grief, no matter how much you resolve to live beyond them. You realize it's all garbage, of course, so you make bright resolves almost daily. But when the garbage still keeps on coming up, you're doubly dismayed. You see that you've spent most of your life acting on the basis of ego-mind AND, despite your resolves to get out of it, you find yourself stuck in a huge, messy pile of the ego's junk.

Q: Yeah! Everyday, when I get involved in my work, my interactions, and everything, the higher things that I want to keep in mind, the ego things I resolved to watch for and change the night before -- it's all forgotten. I can't seem to keep on track very long. It causes a sort of impatience in me which is "C'mon, don't you care enough about this stuff to even remember it?"

David: I'd say you care quite a bit, but caring by itself is not enough. Since that ego stuff is still all automatic in you, you need a different vantage point. At the present, you are still like a lighter-than-air balloon tied down to its moorings with ropes. The ropes are limiting beliefs. Your job is to cut those ropes. Once you cut the ropes that hold you down, your own nature will make you buoyant. You will rise in the skies as soon as you jettison that ballast. And from way up in the sky, you will directly see the things that otherwise you can only at best memorize, remember, and pine for.

So you see, success in spiritual life is not so much about needing to REMEMBER things, it's about SEEING things. What is obvious to your spirit will always be obvious to it. But is the spiritual position your present vantage point? So long as your balloon is tightly moored to the ground by the negative thoughts, lower self-identification, and limiting beliefs, spiritual work remains a treadmill. Memorization, affirmation, and behavior control ad nauseum. That doesn't work! It CAN'T work. You need to come from a higher place. Vantage point is practically EVERYTHING.

I'm sure you recognize the crucial importance of vantage point in all your friends. When they're low, they only see certain things, primarily negative things. Higher things -- salvatory things -- they can't really understand at such times. You may tell them what they need to know, but they keep on forgetting it. Over and over, they ask you, "What's my motivation in this scene? Why should I be doing this again?" They can't seem to hold the charge.

But you notice, too, everything changes when they are higher. Then they see the truth readily, and remember it well.

Q: So it's all about vantage point.

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David: Yes. Lower vantage point doesn't support higher thought -- much less higher knowing.

In my own case, I complain that sometimes, after receiving some amazing revelations while sleeping, I come back to earth from heaven and I can't seem to get the truth through the door. That frustrates me so. In the same way, your soul would LOVE to be able to remember what it knows, but it can't get past the pile of garbage that's holding you down.

So for now, your soul needs to be on cutting those ropes, shoveling away the ego garbage. To regain your native vantage point requires that you accomplish these things. That's why the first step is to expel that negative mind. You must steer clear of concern, doubt, negative beliefs. Get rid of the negative self-belief. Throw away the ego-mask you have on so your native being can express itself. You must religiously direct your mind properly. You must renounce these things that bring you down. That IS your soul's work for now.

If you are like most people, at first you resist the vigilance required for liberation on this level. Consciously or otherwise, you resist the discipline of un-buying the belief structure that presently chains you to the ground. But you find out, the hard way, that as long as you believe that stuff, your soul is not allowed its normal buoyancy. Negative thoughts are counteracting your natural soul tendency to ascend. They are preventing it from expressing its native tendencies to love sincerely, to have cosmic perspective. They preclude all the things that are absolutely native to your soul. Sat-chit-ananda, as they say in Hinduism -- existence, knowledge, bliss -- that's the nature of the Self, YOUR Self. But for those attributes to be evident, a person has to take off the mask, shovel the garbage, and cut the ropes. All those analogies point to the same thing. You see?

It's like the case of your old Uncle Louie. Louie is -- or was -- highly functional. He used to manage a great corporation. But that was twenty years ago -- before he started his slide into alcoholism. Now poor old Louie's on skid row. His brain is swimming in alcohol. His body has been chemically reduced to utter density. He's rendered his being opaque to the transmissions of Truth. He has lost touch with his functionality, his own native genius, because of that toxicity, that bad habit.

Q: He needs to quit drinking!

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David: Absolutely! He will never come back to his senses much less get back into a responsible job until and unless he can cold-turkey on the booze. Really not.

Similarly, that's what ego and bondage in illusion are all about. You mire down in the mud and then, from that vantage point, your soul can't express itself. This ponderous load of negative thought and limiting belief has been imposed upon your soul, rendering it a virtual captive of its own patterns. And your soul feels SO frustrated about the fact that it can't. It is simply not really in the right position to do its rightful business. The resulting pain is like the frustration of people who have Parkinson's disease. They can't DO. They can think clearly, sometimes, but they can't do anything about much. They can see you, but they can't talk to you. When they try to make their mouth move, or their arm move, it doesn't work. They feel -- and are -- imprisoned in their disability.

Q: You just perfectly described the frustration I feel. It's JUST like that.

David: I know, and I sympathize with your champagne taste. I understand you want so much more from life, and so much more from yourself. That great hunger is native to your soul. You feel an enormous frustration about the fact that you can't experience the things that are native to you. You think, "This place is not my place. This is not my world. What am I doing here? This is not the way it is. This is not the way things work." And then you think, "I am not being myself. This is not me!" Such is the frustration of a child of God who is trying to function here, but is hobbled by negative mind.

So, for the time being, don't worry too much about what you are; just worry about getting rid of what you are not. What you ARE will take care of itself -- it's inherent. And, feeling sorry for yourself is no help at all. You just have to UNDO what you've done. You have to take full responsibility. Realize that you have ensnared yourself by virtue of your own choices as to how to construe everything. Realize that your choice up till now has been to go with the junk and stick with it. That's your choice to bind yourself.

What good are misgivings about giving in the mind of a would-be giver? What good are misgivings about love in the mind of one who wishes only to love? If, having seen the ugliness of it, you STILL want to hang onto your junk, you belong to the earth. As long as you are chaining yourself to that tree, you belong to that tree. But if you wish to be free, take to the Way of Undoing.

The Way of Undoing has two parts: Let go and let flow. Let go pertains to the jettisoning of this load of ego stuff. Let go of that, and then let flow. You can't really flow when you are encumbered with so much junk. That's why there's a certain sequence to liberation: Let go, THEN let flow. There's some overlap, to be sure -- but basically, you must jettison your ballast to be free.

Without a doubt, getting rid of the ballast takes work -- and vigilance. Of course you want freedom, but HOW BAD do you want it? What are you willing to do to earn it? If your love for freedom is still insufficient to give you enough motivation to cut the ties that bind you, you remain stuck. If you are still unwilling to let go of the "not It," by what means do you qualify for the "It?"

You need -- and we all need -- a coherent WILL. The one who misses "It" is the one -- the only one -- who can and should throw away what is "not It." To pine for the "It" while remaining unwilling to separate from the "not It" is an incoherence in your thought system. It is insufficiently integrated.

So many people are stuck in this position: champagne taste, beer budget. What they want is sublime, and they're always pining for it. But what hobbles them is the fact that they really tie themselves down so thoroughly to things that are antithetical to what their souls WANT and NEED. So you see, their problem isn't that they have no value on beauty -- their problem is that they have an excessive valuation on what is ugly. In that case, they cling to the ugly EVEN THOUGH it torpedoes their dreams for the beauty. It makes no sense. It is not coherent.

It's incoherent to think you can cling to the mud and be in the clouds at the same time. Don't kid yourself. Don't think you can have the It and the not It both at once. A consistent mind would never countenance such profound self-conflict. So make up your mind. Stay clear and consistent. Decide what you want to be, and BE it.

Coherence rules! For "No man can serve two masters." "You either gather with me or you scatter asunder." Listen to this example: A woman goes to a job interview, and sits in the waiting room repeating her usual affirmation: "I am unemployable, I am unemployable, I am unemployable." Then when she does the interview, it doesn't work as well as she had hoped. And -- remarkably enough -- she doesn't know WHY. But the answer is obvious: She invested considerable mind power AGAINST her stated purpose of getting the job! She is not thinking in such a manner as to support her stated goal. Any sane mind would try as hard as necessary to avoid that problem.

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Q: And that's definitely what I'm doing when I'm telling myself, "I don't deserve to be in that beautiful situation," or "I'm not the spiritual type so I should distance myself from all that stuff." Or "I'll let cooler people do that -- I'm too stuck to succeed at it." Or, "I'm needed to do this practical stuff to keep everything happening so I shouldn't take time out to talk to God now and then." Whatever those thoughts are.

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David: The president of Sony was a coherent man, a man of integrity. Though he earned a large salary, he lived modestly. When asked about that, he said, "Many people are wealthy, or wealth-like, but I am not -- I am ordinary. I live in a modest house. I only heat one room at a time. I drive a simple car. I stay in inexpensive hotels. I am rich, but not wealthy." Think about it: he was consistent. He realized that the SPENDING of riches does not conduce to BEING rich. He knew that making money and wasting money are opposing ideas. On the basis of that coherence, he will definitely be rich, and stay rich.

The legend of the Greek philosopher Diogenese -- walking around with a lantern, looking for an honest man -- is a great tale. Diogenese wanted to find someone who was honest with themselves. Self-honesty is the ONLY cause of coherent thought. ONLY true coherence -- integrity of living -- provides relief from the whole frustrating dilemma we've been talking about.

All spiritual success is measured by a consistent philosophy, earnestly lived. All the elements of your life, from up to down, from left to right, should work together, should make sense as a whole.

When a person FULLY recognizes that garbage is garbage, they are no longer attracted to it. When a person TRULY recognizes beauty as beauty, they are completely attracted to it, and are happy to pay for the Pearl of Great Price.

Q: That's wonderful, I get it.

David: Great! So now, walk the walk. Untie yourself from evil, and bond yourself to Good. That's the answer. Effectively let go of what's wrong. Religiously cling to a proper self-identification; cleave to what is Good and True.

Positive coherence supports the soul; negative coherence supports the ego. AND, incoherence -- inner division -- ALSO supports the ego. It makes perfect sense. If you really look at it, it's kind of "Duh! Why didn't I think of that?" You just have to really look at it. Then do the work to free yourself.

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Q: It takes time to change, doesn't it?

David: Probably so. You may need some time to make these adjustments. But the good news is, IF you reject the bad consistently, and hold tightly enough to the good, you WILL regain your elevation, you WILL realize who you ARE.

So be it.

by David Truman

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