Vernon Howard - Let the Light Shine on the Valley of Shadows
An excerpt from a talk by Vernon Howard given on 07-23-83 at 12 minutes.
You used to call the good bad whenever it appeared to you and you pushed it away. And now a good experience, a spiritual revelation is happening to you and you call it bad because you fear the loss of your pseudo-security of calling the - where you used to call the good bad and you fear the loss of that.
This is the long, utterly complex and confusing experience that is good for you finally because at the end of the valley of shadows and monsters, because at the end of it there is no - there is no you to talk about it.
In your present condition you're always talking to yourself, aren't you? Making judgments, making comparisons, worried little utterances as to what's happening to you. You're always talking. Who is talking? The anxious false nature, the self-conceited self. Get it? That's what's talking and it is always talking babble. Babylon?
At the end of the experience there is no one to judge, no one to say a word, no one to go around moaning, complaining. There is no one to speak, to act, to think - in a wrong way - to judge, to try to impose its meaning on the experience. There is no one there.
Now, you say if there is no one there, then whose doing the experiencing of this new free state? See? See how your mind always works? You insist - don't you? - on you being someone who understands. If you insist on there being someone to understand, you'll never understand. You always start with the false assumption that there's an entity there, a center to think from. There is no real center, personality, individual to think from anything. It is thinking from a position that causes the screaming madness in the world, in the home, in the country, everywhere.
In other words, an insane mind thinks from its insane mind, from a position. This insane mind is a position over here and this insane mind, his wife, his friend, his rival has another insane mind, both of them vanity laden and they hate each other, right? Competitive.
All right. There's one thing to do. Go all the way! Go all the way from the start of the valley of shadows to the end of it. You know how I've illustrated it. It starts here and it dips down. That means you're getting conscious of your terror of all the horrible confusion. It gets deeper and deeper and all the monsters are on both sides. Well, you an just keep walking. And one thing you walk through is terrible disgrace.
You know, most people - you'll agree with this. Let's talk confidentially for a minute. (Laughter) Most people don't know the bad things you've done in the past, right? You know, the old girlfriend of twenty years ago and you hope you never meet her again. You know? Oh, I see a few smiles out there. You know all the evil little things you used to do and you never got caught luckily. You have to go through that so that there's only pure memory unattached to an I self.
All right, so you go to the end of the valley, through all the disgraces. Which see - see feeling disgraced is vanity. Aren't you saying, "I'm terrible. What I did. How I behaved."
See, see, you're hanging onto self-punishment, aren't you. You want the feeling of considering yourself an idiot. Which, of course, you were. (Laughter) You were because you were asleep not knowing you were an idiot.
So you go to the end of the valley which is now up here now. Ah, now you understand, now all is clear because up here you're free of thought, therefore free of all kinds of thoughts: judgment, accusation, criticism. You're free of the wish - you're free of the wish to feel something. To feel yourself, feel your old experiences over and over. You're free of it, and you really know now what it means to be a new person.
Now we have to use the word person. We have to use words. To be a new and free person really, in its depths, means to not be a person at all. You now have a personality, don't you? And I'd better - it gets real complex. I'll give you a little brief explanation.
Natural personality is okay. It's okay for you to be born physically the way you are and you develop certain what you might call neutral personality traits: you talk a certain way. As long as it's not neurotic. I'm talking about differences without it being neurotic differences. That part is okay because in this life, we're different. Two apple trees are different from each other. One is tall and red apples, the other short and green apples, whatever.
At the end of the trail, up on the peak now, there is not you, but an understanding that - here we go into word problem again but you'll get it. Where something understands. And I tell you, you don't need anymore definition than that! And please don't give it any more definition. Don't say your name and say I understand or you'll go into all the old assaults of identification and association without knowing it and you'll get the vanity of saying I understand and that will spoil it. It means you won't understand.
When you really understand, you're perfectly content to say, "There's understanding. There's understanding." You kind of nod to the physical self there. There is something there that understands. What is it that understands? You know what it is. A clear spirit, a heavenly light. Go on, get all the phrases and words you want. There is an understanding and we say the word you consciously now of which you are a part.
If there's another man or woman on the other side of the world. I guess there's only two people in the whole world who really understand, there would be no conflict between them, would there? They don't want to get the promotion down at the factory. They aren't going to have rivalry over getting the same woman, or anything like that. Oh, no spiritual rivalry either, right?
See if you can get this. God is everything. Totality. Now, if God is everything, how can you ever want more if you're with God? That's it! You've got it. Now what have you really got? You've got rid of you. That's what you've got! And what's left over is real, uncluttered, unspoiled by the surface personality.
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