How much SOUL do you need??

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

The Beatles’ album Rubber Soul recently celebrated its 55th anniversary. Or should that be Rubber Souls: since its release in December 1965, there have always been two different versions ofthe album. The covers were identical, but the UK version contained fourteen tracks. That album was released worldwide…

…except in North America. Capitol Records, the group’s US label, habitually trimmed their fourteen-track UK LPs to twelve tracks (sometimes eleven!), and then further reshuffled the contents to make space for the UK singles (which were customarily not included on UK LPs). Reportedly, Capitol exec Dave Dexter wanted the US Rubber Soul to have more of a “folk music” feel than the UK version, so he snipped four “rock” songs from the UK track listing– “Drive My Car,” “What Goes On,” “If I Needed Someone,” and “Nowhere Man”– and replaced them with two “acoustic” songs– “I’ve Just Seen A Face” and “It’s Only Love” –cut from the earlier UK Help! album (which, in the US, was a soundtrack LP with seven Beatles tunes and five non-Beatles instrumental tracks).

The result was that, even though the two Rubber Souls shared ten common tracks, the US edition had a warmer feel than its UK counterpart, with acoustic instruments dominating the songs. Beatles fans are divided on which Rubber Soul they prefer, but many of them own a copy of both. I used to own both, and while the UK version has grown on me, I grew up with the US version, and that’s still the one that I prefer. As a Facebook friend of mine said, “If it doesn’t open with ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face,’ it’s not Rubber Soul.”

However, the Rubber Soul variations don’t end with the track lineups. Up until 1968, pop albums were issued for both stereo and mono phonographs. The Beatles directly supervised their mono mixes, leaving the EMI engineers to create stereo mixes based on those mono versions. This means that– guess what?– many Beatles collectors have not just two, but four different Rubber Souls: both UK and US releases, in both mono and stereo.

Right now I don’t have any vinyl copies of either edition, and so, spurred by this anniversary, I went to eBay to see if I could score a cheap copy of my favorite Rubber Soul: a US mono pressing. I bid on a copy…

…but then I found myself second-guessing. Buying a vinyl copy of an album I owned on CD and in digital form might seem excessive, if not obsessive, to many people.

Why did I NEED to not only have a vinyl copy, but that specific vinyl copy?

Then I saw this picture on Facebook, posted by a collector in a Beatles group.

These records are said collector’s FIFTEEN copies of the US Rubber Soul. From the top left, he has the original east-and west-coast pressings in both mono and stereo; then a late-‘60s stereo disc (the label almost identical to original issues save for some wording in the manufacturing disclaimer); next, a late ‘60s stereo disc with Capitol’s new label design; then a record club release, the 1973 Apple Records reissue, and, finally, three late 70s and early 80s reissues.

Oh… and, in the lower right corner, for good measure, in addition to those eleven vinyl pressings, he also has the 8-track and cassette releases, as well as two CD editions.

(No, I don’t know where his reel-to-reel tape went.)

The thing that might be astounding (if not confounding) to a non-collector is that musically, most of these eleven Rubber Souls are as identical as they appear! Two of them are mono mixes, while one of the early stereo pressings was a unique “east coast mix” that was never reissued. (Remember my distinction between “east coast” and “west coast” pressings? This was one of the few times that the pressing plant location equated to a musical variation.)

That having been said, the remaining eight albums are just musically identical reissues of the same twelve-track stereo album. Yes, granted: earlier pressings of these discs sound better than later pressings, but later pressings were made in smaller quantities, so, therefore, they’re technically “rarer” and perhaps more “collectible”…

…and as my character Margo might type at this point, “do you even care about any of this?”

I can’t sit here and type that I don’t indulge this sort of obsessiveness in my own way. Within slightly-more-than-arm’s length of my desk sits a crateful of Beatles 45s containing multiple copies of records which appear to be “the same” but are slightly different from each other in some way. I have four different US copies of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” that differ only cosmetically (mainly label variations), but then I also have two different pressings of “For You Blue” that look identical but differ musically; same with “I Feel Fine” and “I’ll Cry Instead” and “Love Me Do” and “Misery” and a bunch of other tunes.

When I lost my 2000+ disc record collection a few years back, I told myself that I now had the fun of acquiring those discs all over again if I wanted to. Label variations, stereo or mono mixes, album or single versions, country of origin, picture sleeves… sussing out these kinds of variations is part of the fun of collecting anything.

So even though I’m kind of mocking this collector’s bring-n-brag picture of his Rubber Soul library, in a way, it’s surprising that I don’t have even one vinyl copy of Rubber Soul.

I don’t think I want or need eleven, but at least that gives me a benchmark.

Whether that’s a benchmark of completeness or of obsessiveness is another question.

* * * * *

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, PO Box 1184, White River Junction, VT 05001 OR order a copy/subscription online at my Selz store:

Rule One: Be Ted. Rule Two: Why aren’t you Ted?

Ted Williams c. 1971 as manager of the Washington Senators (from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED)

A friend of mine said that Ted Williams was an impatient disaster as a hitting coach because his unspoken first rule of hitting seemed to be:

1 – Have the eyesight and reflexes of Ted Williams.

This is how I feel reading the advice of a lot of METAPHYSICAL LIFE COACHES lately. I get where they’re coming from: we discover this teaching, it’s deep and lifechanging, and we want everyone to get it and improve their lives and be happy (and, yeah, perhaps benefit ourselves in some way too).

That’s cool, but we need to remember that if a player isn’t batting .400 right out of the gate, maybe it’s just because he’s not Ted Williams. Yet.

Maybe the words of my Goddard College MFA creative writing advisor Nicky Morris will be helpful, too:

“I find that when I really want to learn something, the best way to do it is to teach a class about it.”

The Twins in color

In each issue of my ‘zine Metanoia, I include a comic featuring The Twins: Christy, based on the character in my books and stories, and Rebecca, her “evil twin sister.” Maybe someday I’ll do a post about how these characters evolved, how I create the comics, etc. In the meantime, since the Twins comics in Metanoia are, by necessity, tiny, censored greyscale reductions of the originals, I wanted to present, in full uncensored color, a few-times-three of the Twins comics that have appeared in Metanoia.

UPDATE (15 April 2021) – The first TWINS ebook comic collection is now available! Click here for more info or to order a copy!

Please note that these are adult-themed comics with cartoon nudity and sexual humor. And that’s as close to a trigger warning as you will ever see from me about my work.


Click on the thumbnails to bring up the full-sized versions of the comics.

“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. To get the latest issue or to subscribe, click here.

The constraints of liberation

PSSST! Doing a podcast, a vlog, a newsletter, a blog, an article? Here’s a little tip that I learned from working in both radio and on newspapers: 

Set a limit defined by your chosen media (time, words, space, pages) and DON’T EXCEED IT.

Word counts and time limits and space restrictions are your friends, and they’re even bigger friends of your audience.

Doing an open-ended vlog or podcast or written piece may feel liberating, but it’s really just self-indulgence, and it’s also disrespectful to your audience. It’s like handing them your notes or your rough draft and saying “Here… the bigger point is in here somewhere, but I don’t feel like slogging through all this shit to find it… you’ll suss it out.” 

And my attitude, even with a person I like, is usually “No, I won’t. Get to the point.” 

And ultimately how can I enjoy someone who has so little respect for me –their audience– that they assume that I’ll drop everything and sit for as long as they’re going to take to stammer through whatever point they’re trying to get to? 

That’s the big problem I have with a lot of podcasts, vlogs, etc: that they just tend to go on and on and on and on and on. Every diversion, every stray thought, gets included, and the bigger points get lost in what, in the wrong hands, just comes across as discursive, self-indulgent, stream-of-consciousness rambling. Yawwwwwwn.

Radio, by contrast, is a finite medium. When I do a radio show on the air, the show starts at a certain time, I have a finite amount of time to do my show, and then the show ends at a certain time. 

If I’m on from 6-8 am, I’ve got two hours.  So I have to decide: what do I want to communicate to my listeners? What’s important? What isn’t? What songs do I want to play most

It forces me to make choices. If I want to ramble self-indulgently, I’m free to do that, but when 8 am comes, I have to relinquish the mic.

One thing I love about instagram is that the video length is capped at one minute. I can’t present anything extraneous. So if I do a video for instagram, I’ve got to present my thoughts in one minute. Not 1:05, because then I have to trim either from the beginning or the end. One minute. There’s no temporal room for self-indulgence. Unless I want to send my viewers link-jumping to a continuation, again, I need to pare it down to the essential.

Following these examples, when I decided, earlier in the spring, to do an online weekly “radio show,” I decided that it’d be one hour long. I just finished putting together this week’s, and at one point, I realized that it might run 1:00:54. I had to find 54 seconds to edit away. 

Fifty-four lousy seconds. What’s the big deal? 

The big deal is: if I decide that 54 seconds overage doesn’t matter, then, eventually, that 54 seconds becomes 1:54, then 2:54. It’s important because it means I haven’t kept my word. It’s an unwritten agreement: I tell listeners that my show is one hour long. You like and respect me enough to take an hour of your time and listen; in turn, I respect your time enough to not go a second over an hour. 

And yes, this show had a thirteen minute talk segment which could have been trimmed. But I liked that part. And I think most people who listen won’t mind it, because they know that I’m not adding that thirteen minutes on top of an hour that’s already there. 

Finding 54 seconds to trim was easy! 

Moral of the story: don’t disrespect your listeners and readers. Set a limit and don’t exceed it. 

P.S. Here’s the link to this week’s UNCLE MAX RADIO SHOW.
One hour and not a second more, although this week it was 9/10ths of a second less

I’ll make it up next week. Promise!

METANOIA – A print only ‘zine

IMG_20200328_133037_hdrMetanoia is my new print only ‘zine. It contains original work which hasn’t appeared and won’t appear online in any form.

The range of topics I’ll cover runs the gamut from metaphysics to music, from Neville Goddard to Mr. Spock, writing process to prayer method, nature, record collecting… all the things that I’m interested in.

For as long as I’ve considered myself a writer, I’ve not only always had my work in print (school newspapers and literary magazines, then, later, writing for local and regional newspapers, and, of course, my books); I’ve also always self-published newsletters and ‘zines of some kind, going way back to my Beatles/music newsletter Revolver and in college with my Temple Free Paper, and then the revival of Revolver in the 90s.

I enjoy writing online and enjoy blogging, but I missed the physical process of producing a print ‘zine/newsletter: setting a deadline, hashing through rough drafts, laying it out, editing it for style and space, then, finally, printing out copies and distributing them. I also lamented the fact that so much online writing is ephemeral.

So I decided to create a new ‘zine: Metanoia. The word, which I learned from Neville Goddard’s teachings, is a Greek word meaning a radical change of attitude.

Metanoia will be published roughly every two weeks (I’m aiming for every other Friday), one page, four columns, with a little bit of everything that interests me, plus a cartoon and some very short fiction (pieces from my Facebook Flash Fiction project).

I decided to make it print only, so I still didn’t quite solve the ephemeral problem. But I think you’ll understand.

Metanoia is a dollar per issue in the USA and two dollars per issue everywhere else, and, yes, you can subscribe!

Click here to get info on how to get Metanoia sent to you!


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.


What Job SHOULD have done (Neville Goddard)

This is the question and answer segment following Neville Goddard’s lecture Job: Your Biography. The lecture itself is a brilliant dissection of this book of the Bible, but in the Q&A following the lecture, Neville tied the message of the book into his assertions that imagining creates reality.

If Job is being tested by God, and should not question that test or justify his deeds, then how should he react? Neville answers the question definitively.

I’ve done my best transcribing this; however, it’s an old, poor quality source recording, so some words were simply unintelligible; I’ve noted those in parentheses. All notes are in parentheses in bold italics.

Also, the source audio ends abruptly, as does this transcript!  

You can listen to this entire lecture (one of my favorites!) via this YouTube video.


…Now I trust it is not in your future to be hurt– it’s my wish for you. But do remember what you heard tonight: that should you be hurt, don’t feel in any strange way that there’s a God of retribution. It’s only for your good that these things happen. As we are told in Job…

If I washed myself with snow and cleansed my hands with lye, then thou cast me into the pit and my own clothes abhor me. (Job 9:30)

So no matter how man tries to cleanse himself morally, and do all these things in order NOT to encounter the pit, if the pit is necessary to purify him, in order to be made perfect in the eyes of God, he will be thrown into the pit.

You see it every day, and you wonder “Why? I knew him. He was so altogether nice and kind and tender. I knew the family. Why should it happen to them?” But that’s the story of Job.

Now are there any questions, please?

Surely there’s a question…

(Unintelligible question from audience)

Very good question. The lady does not relate this to the way I express imagination.

I say: in the midst of the flames, use God’s law.

(Unintelligible comment from audience)

Certainly! If tonight I found myself COMPLETELY behind the eight ball because that is part of my training, then let me use God’s law, and exercise my talent to come out of that pit. I don’t accept it as final. I don’t even accept it as temporary. But I mustn’t blame myself when I find myself in the pit. That is told us so clearly in the gospel:

Do you think that when the tower fell and killed eighteen, they were greater sinners than the others in Jerusalem? I tell you not! But unless you repent, you shall have the same fate. (paraphrase of Luke 13:4-5)

“Repent” means “change your attitude.”

Everything is a (unintelligible word) for man to exercise his talents, to change his attitude.

You think that the five who were killed in Galilee, that they were worse sinners than the others? I tell you not. But unless you repent, you’ll have a similar fate. (paraphrase of Luke 13:2-3)

The word is “repent.” That’s the beginning of the whole teaching. “Repent” only means that word “metanoia:” a radical change of attitude towards life.

So when something happens to you, DON’T ACCEPT IT as final. Repent!

But he will encroach (?) on you morning, noon and night, and force you to exercise your talent.

(Earlier in the lecture, Neville told the story of an Army veteran who held hatred for blacks and Jews, until two incidents transformed him: the first, during the war, when a Jewish man rescued his unit while pinned down in a foxhole, and then the second after the war, when a black man saved his life during a work accident.)

He will (unintelligible), if it takes a war in New Guinea, and you on your belly, and bullets ricocheting off your hat, to prove to you that your prejudice was simply a mental error, and therefore one that you disliked and hated will be your savior.

So man’s purification comes by the death of his delusions, and He always will use the one you hate to be your good samaritan. Always. So the Jew, in one case, was a good samaritan; the Negro, in the other case, was his good samaritan. Both saved him on different occasions. If he has another hate today, God will put him in the state (?) and then he’ll be saved by one of his hates, and that one will be his good samaritan.

So I do not deny that I tell you: imagining creates reality. But don’t deny it when you go through hell.

I came down Mason (Mason Street in San Francisco) many years ago– I was living at the Fairmont (a hotel on Mason Street) and it was a wet day, and I came out with new shoes. Well, you know that thing called Mason… (audience laughter)… so here I am; I’m aware of my date; in fact, the lady’s in the audience now– I had a date with her for the :30 hour, and it was 10:30, and so I started down towards her shop on Fourth Avenue– I mean, on Fourth Street. Well, I was quite early, I’d started, and someone could have picked me right up this way and dropped me on my back– but it felt that way! And there I was, COMPLETELY on my back, walking down with my new shoes, and then two lads came by and they led me to the top of California (Street), and then I was in excruciating pain. I had a dinner date that night at the Fairmont– I had eighteen invited for dinner– and luckily I knew the housekeeper, and she thought she would pitch in and help me out by taking them through these fabulous apartments in the Fairmont after dinner, because I couldn’t stand any longer, and she said “I’ll take them through Mr. Kaiser’s place, and I’ll take them through this place,” and show them these fabulous suites in the hotel. She was very sweet about it. Because I couldn’t sit one moment longer than I did. I was in excruciating pain.

So I told the story from the platform. First reaction was: “Why should it happen to you?” As though I am not part of society! And I’m not part of the world? It happens to me as it happens to anyone! It could happen to President Kennedy! If he falls on his back– which he did; he’s always rocking in his chair. (audience laughter) Why should it happen to him? He’s the head of our country! Here is the top office in the land and he is filling it, but something happened to him, and he’s always rocking.

So don’t, in any way, justify it. Use your imagination to get out of it. I didn’t look and say “What have I done to warrant this? God shouldn’t do this to me! I’m doing his work!” Well, isn’t that stupid? Who ISN’T doing his work? The man who– I took my shoes today and he shined them for me– he’s doing God’s work. I didn’t shine them myself. And so he shined my shoes for me. He’s doing God’s work.

But everyone said, “Well, why did it happen to Neville?” Well, it happened to me, may I tell you? And I had that pain for–excruciating pain– but it FORCED me to use my imagination to get out of that pain. So why shouldn’t it happen to me? Why should it only happen to others? We’re all one.

So I say, this is not in contradiction with what I teach: Imagining creates reality. But the story is: repent, repent, repent. When you find yourself, don’t start digging and say “Well, what have I done?” as Job did. Job, in the most glorious– in the 30th chapter– 30th and 31st chapters of Job, he makes the most eloquent defense of his virtues. And all these virtues he brings up, and all the virtuous deeds. Well, that is a demonstration of the fact that he had not abandoned his belief in the dogma of retribution. And yet he’s asking for acquittal! How can he be acquitted if he believes in retribution? These things could not have happened if he believed that way. But in spite of these things, God puts them on him, and then: repent!

“Don’t ask me why I did it– repent! Don’t ACCEPT the sentence. Get out of it. Don’t accept ANY sentence! You get out of it by exercising your talent that I gave you, and then extricate yourself from that problem.”

For man has to awaken. But don’t accept it, and don’t look for some cause other than God’s vision of the need of that bit of gold: there’s still a little bit of ore with it, and it must be burnt away.

So it doesn’t deny the saying that “Imagining creates reality.” What I’m trying to get over tonight is: don’t judge people harshly when you meet someone who’s limited. If they’re limited, tell them of repentance. But don’t condemn them and say, “well, now, you’re only reaping the fruit of some horrible mistake in the past.” Don’t. Just say, no matter what you’ve ever done in the past, tell them how to escape from their present predicament. Because God is INFINITELY merciful. And he (Job) did not know of the God of mercy. He only knew the God of retribution, and God is a God of mercy. And God is the God of grace. And so he gives us, in the end– after we exercise the talent that he gave us, which is just to free ourselves from every limitation in the world.

Any other questions, please?


Well, you do.

Question: But you must have done something to reap all that…

You see that again? (audience laughter) That– man can’t get over that law of retribution. He can’t get over it. We are still in the Bible. The Bible is not something that is thousands of years old. The Bible is contemporary. Man is in the state of consciousness of getting even. Retribution. And He comes to forgive sin. Completely forgive everything. The last cry on the cross: “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” But man doesn’t WANT to forgive him. They’ll say, “Where is Stalin? I hope he’s burning! Where is Hitler? I hope he’s burning!” And to think, “well, he’s not,” well, millions would simply feel, “Well, that isn’t a good God. I don’t want a God that forgives sin. I don’t want a God of mercy. Not until He FIRST burns this one first!” (audience laughter) “Then after He burns him, then He can forgive sin! But not before.” And that’s the world. Well, he isn’t that kind of a God. He is a God of infinite mercy. And showing us the law.

If you have a piece of gold, and you want to mold it into a certain image, a living image, but the gold is not pure gold– there’s a little alloy with it, a little ore, and you can only really put it into a molten form by putting it in the fire. Wouldn’t that gold, if it really had sensitivity, be in pain when you put it in the fire? Would it? I mean, if you can endow the gold with a sensitive quality, would it not be hurt if you put it in the fire? All right. But you put it in the fire to bring it into a molten state, that it may separate itself from the dross. And when it’s completely pure, and in the molten state, then you can put it into any state you want, couldn’t you?

Well, that is man. When God took himself a handful of clay and hid in it the torment of eternity, (unintelligible) turmoil. Did not Job say, “And you made this clay of mine… made me out of clay. Are you going to once more turn me into dust?” Because to him it felt like being turned into dust. “You made me out of clay. Are you going to turn me into dust?” said Job. So when you go through the furnaces you think you are being turned into dust

(Source recording ends abruptly at this point.)

Job: Your Biography

An email to a friend:

Howdy! Hope all is well! I’m sorry I haven’t seen you… I’ve been STRICTLY adhering to my overnight schedule even during a week when we don’t have groups, like this one. It just makes it so much easier. The downside is, I get up between noon and 2 and it’s too late to catch you, darn it. But I can usually make it to PK Coffee by 2:30, which is where I am right now. It’s PACKED.

Subject line = not “Job” as in work, but “Job” as in “the book of the bible.” I’ve been delving into it recently: over the fall, I discovered a Neville Goddard lecture called JOB: YOUR BIOGRAPHY which really hit home and has become my favorite, and that spurred me to delve into it and read it, which blew me away so much that I bought a used copy of this EXHAUSTIVE study bible called THE INTERPRETER’S BIBLE, which is absolutely thick with commentary and expository/explanatory material. (See the photo of a typical page.)  

I think that right now, if I was teaching a writing class, I would do a unit on the Book of Job. By all accounts, it’s one of the great pieces of literature ever written, first of all. (Having not read all of them, and being someone who considers many episodes of STAR TREK to be “great literature,” I feel ill-suited to comment on that assertion.) Second of all, it has been parsed and misinterpreted and mistranslated and misunderstood almost since the day it was set to paper, so that would be fodder for research and discussion. (example: Neville talks about how “the patience of Job” is a complete misrepresentation of the work, “because Job was the most IMPATIENT person on the planet.”) Third, its provenance and history as a manuscript (two manuscripts, apparently written by two or more different authors: the prose prologue and epilogue, and the middle verse “dialogue”) is fascinating. Fourth, the use of language and symbols, and how so much in the manuscript is deliberate in ways that aren’t immediately evident on the surface. Numbers, for instance: all numbers in scripture had significance of some kind, so when, for instance, we’re told that something numbers seven, it may have a surface meaning, but the deeper spiritual meaning was one of “completion.” 

Those just for starters. Just delving into this work on my own has shown me how woefully inadequate a lot of my education has been. Or maybe not… if I hadn’t done what I’d done, I wouldn’t KNOW TO look at this work in the way that I am.

It’s stoking me in a lot of ways, but mainly, unexpectedly, as a writer, and that’s why I’d present it to writers. Right now I’m trying to figure out what direction I’m going to take with a lot of disparate works that are in embryonic stages. I can see at least three books coming out of a nebulous mass of very rough drafts and ideas that I’ve been toying with, and with one of them, anyway, JOB has given me the idea that I should try to write the book in blank verse, and be very deliberate, dreamlike, mystical, with the structure of the book. Without, you know, being full of shit.

All this is what I’d toss at you if I saw you in person, but since I’m sitting here at the cafe, I’m typing it.

Hope to see you and catch up soon! 🙂 m