Spirituality

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Spirituality

JOHN PETROZZI: Hi. Welcome to Living is Easy. I’m John Petrozzi.

Today, we’re lucky to be speaking to Gary Renard, who’s the author of several spiritual books. There’s one in particular that I really like to talk to him about today, and it’s called “The Disappearance of the Universe.”

Hi, Gary, and thanks for coming on the show today.

GARY RENARD: Well, it’s great to be with you. It’s also a lot of fun to be here in Australia. We came from Los Angeles, and we’re having a great time.

JOHN PETROZZI: Oh, fantastic. Gary, your book has been written in an unusual way, and it came to you in an unusual way. Can you sort of describe to us how you came to write this book, “The Disappearance of the Universe”?

GARY RENARD: Sure. I’ve been on a spiritual path—I would call it—for about 14 years, and I’d learned a lot of interesting things. I had started to have what I would call a lot of mystical-type experiences, and most of them were very visual. Then, one day, I was meditating in my living room—this is back when I lived in Maine in the 1990s—I opened my eyes from my meditation and there were two people sitting there on my living room couch who started to talk to me and became my teachers and instructors.

I’ve since come to understand that it really is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works with all of us to guide us along our spiritual path. But the Holy Spirit will show up to people in many different ways; He will show up in whatever ways best for them.

For example, for some people, the Holy Spirit could show up as an angel, and they would just think, “Oh, that’s an angel.” But it really is the Holy Spirit showing up as an angel, because that’s what they can accept and understand without fear. For a religious type person, the Holy Spirit could show up as the Virgin Mary, and they would just think, “Well, of course, that’s the Virgin Mary.” But it really is the Holy Spirit showing up for that person as the Virgin Mary, because that’s what’s best for them at the time; that’s what can help them the most at the time.

In my case, these two being showed up to me, to teach me, as people. I think the reason that they appeared as people was because they wanted the conversations that we would have to be healing. They wanted them to be kinds of things that everyday people could relate to, because most of the spiritual teachings out there are quite, you know, scholarly or biblical or just very nice and kind, and not really blunt the way that my teachers were. My teachers were very blunt; they had a different style of teaching than what you find in most spiritual books. They were everyday, street-smart kind of conversations.

So, it was a case where they would carry on a different style of conversation with me, simply based on the fact that I could see them and relate to them as buddies. It made for, I think, an entertaining and more fun kind of a style, and also very clear, because of that bluntness.

JOHN PETROZZI: So in essence, did you channel while you’re meditating?

GARY RENARD: No, I’m not a channeler. These beings just showed up to me as real people. In fact, they were so real that I could touch them and feel them; they were not spiritual-type apparitions. I think they did that on purpose. I think it was so that it would end up being the kind of a book that “The Disappearance of the Universe,” which is a very unusual, and yet I think unusually clear and instructional at the same time.

JOHN PETROZZI: Can you give us a bit of background as to what messages are in the book?

GARY RENARD: Yeah. This is the message that they claim was the real message of Jesus 2,000 years ago, and they said that message pretty much got lost by religion, but what Jesus was kind of like showing people how to do by pointing the way was a more personal kind of spirituality.

They also eventually gone into a modern-day spiritual teaching called “A Course in Miracles,” which they say was given by Jesus, which is his voice in A Course in Miracles. What they do is they gave me kind of like a different vision of Jesus than what we’ve been given historically. They say that he was not claiming to be special, that he was not claiming to be God’s only begotten son, but rather, He was teaching us that by following his example, we could be like him, and eventually, have the same experiences and return home to God the way that he did.

So it’s more of a personal kind of spirituality. In fact, A Course in Miracles is a self-study course. It’s not a religion. It’s not something you have to believe in or proselytise for and promote to other people. It’s a personal thing that’s done between you and the Holy Spirit, which is the way that Jesus is saying that he was able to return home to God by actually being led by the Holy Spirit.

Some people think of Jesus as being the ultimate leader, but really, he was just the opposite. He was actually the ultimate follower, because what he did was he eventually listened, as he puts it, to just one voice, which is the voice of the Holy Spirit, which speaks for God. He was able to learn a way of forgiveness, where you forgive people in a different manner than what most people are used to thinking of it as. Most people, when they think about forgiveness, they’re doing it from a place of defect, where the world is really doing it to them, which makes them victims, and they’re forgiving people because they really did something. It kind of like keeps what I call the ego, which is the thought of separation from God. It kind of keeps that in place.

What Jesus did was a kind of forgiveness that did not come from a place of being a defect; it came from a place of being at cause, which means that he realised that the world was not being done to him, but it was actually being done by Him. It was actually coming from him, which is just the opposite of the way the world traditionally thinks. But the world that we’re seeing is actually a projection that is coming from our own unconscious mind. The unconscious mind knows that because the unconscious mind knows everything, even if the conscious mind is not aware of it. Your unconscious mind knows everything.

One of the things that it knows is that even though there may appear to be billions of people out there to forgive, the truth is that there’s really just one of us. There’s just one ego kind of like appearing as many. That’s what the Hindus would call the world of multiplicity. You look out there and you see six billion people, but that’s a trick; it’s an illusion. It’s a slight of hand. It’s kind of like the way that Albert Einstein described a person’s experience. He said, “A person’s experience is kind of like an optical delusion of consciousness.” What we’re seeing is not true. It’s actually a projection that is coming from us that became unconscious, so we’re not aware of it. It’s not something that we understand and we think that it’s reality.

And Jesus, understanding these things, that his unconscious mind knew everything, and that one of the things that he knows is that there’s really just one of us and that what it looks like. He realised that if he went to life judging and condemning other people that it was really just going to him. It may look like you’re judging and condemning another person and thinking negative thoughts about another person, but there’s not really anybody out there for it to go to. So your unconscious mind will interpret that as a message from you to you about you.

So if I’m driving on the freeway back in L.A. and somebody cuts me up in traffic and I curse at that person, well, without realising it, I just cursed at myself and condemned myself. My own unconscious mind will interpret it that way, and then three or four days from now, I’ll feel sad or I’ll feel depressed and I don’t understand why. But the reason why would be because I thought that I was thinking and saying these things to another person, when the truth is it was just going to me.

Once you understand that, then you can use it. You can stop thinking negative things about the world and about other people. Forgive them instead, not because they’d really done something, but because they haven’t really done anything, because you’re the one who made them up in the first place, because you wanted them to be there so that this guilt that is in your mind would appear to be in them instead of you. The reason for that can be traced all the way back to the original idea of being separate from our source, which is the ego, the idea of separation.

So there’s a kind of forgiveness that undoes all of that. It actually undoes the ego, which is a classic spiritual approach—the approach of Buddhism to undo the ego—which is a brilliant approach, because if you undid the ego (this thought of separation from your source which resulted in a false identity of personal existence and individual identity), then eventually, the real you would be all that’s left.

The real you is exactly the same as your source; it’s exactly the same as god. That’s why Jesus, at the end of his life, through this great kind of forgiveness, was able to re-experience what he really was, which was nothing less than God – what we really are is exactly the same as our source.

That may sound arrogant to some people to say that you’re nothing less than god. But according to the Course in Miracles, according to my teachers, according to “The Disappearance of the Universe,” what would be really arrogant would be to think that you could be separate from God, to think that you could be separate from your source. That’s the real arrogance.

What this kind of forgiveness does, which is taught in my books, it undoes the idea of separation resulting in a genuine experience of what you really are and where you really are. So ultimately, the experience of being a body and being separate from others and separate from God is a false experience. Even though it feels real, it’s a false experience that can be replaced by the real experience of what you really are, which is actually this perfect spirit.

JOHN PETROZZI: It seems to be that a mirror is shown up to us to try and teach us some lessons. That’s the sort of gist that I’ve gotten from the first part of our talk. Your perception of the way reality works and your paradigm of life is quite unusual from the major populace of the world. How do you see yourself? How do you see the world’s timeline? How do you see birth and death? What’s our purpose? Where do we come from? Is it in fact that the universe is going to disappear?

GARY RENARD: Right. Where we came from was actually a massive denial and projection outward, which occurred on this metaphysical level, which we’re no longer aware of and it resulted in the making of the universe, of time and space. It’s very much akin to Jesus’ story of the prodigal son. Most people think that the story of Adam and Eve is accurate and that they were kicked out of paradise, when the truth is they weren’t kicked out of paradise. They kind of decided to leave. They were very much like Jesus’ prodigal son, with the attitude, “What would it be like if I went off and try this on my own?”

That actually was a mistake, because in heaven, everything is perfect. Actually, God is still perfect; God is still perfect love, as both the Bible and the Course in Miracles describe God. The treat for us is to go home, because that’s the perfect home that we have to go home to, where if we stay here, we live in a world of opposites. We live in a world that not only has life but also death. It not only has abundance, but it also has scarcity. Where if you return home to God, which you can have glimpses of and experience of, even while you appear to be here as a body and you can ultimately awaken as Buddha did, as Jesus did, and as others have done.

You can actually have the experience of perfection, in which you really are, and then eventually, when you’ve forgiven everything and learned all the lessons that you’re supposed to learn, that can become a permanent experience, so your experience of going home can be permanent. So I would say that the purpose of life is to go home. It’s not an end unto itself to say, “Hear and learn lessons,” which you want to do is learn your lessons and go home to God. That, to me, is the ultimate goal.

Now, the irony here is that by doing so, you also have a better life while you appear to be here. It’s a better quality of life, because if you practice this kind of forgiveness, you’re the one who’s really being forgiven. The reason for that is, as we already said, there’s only one of us, and whatever you’re putting out there is just going to you. So you have the ability to shape how you feel about yourself.

People have no idea how good they could feel. They don’t have any idea how happy and how wonderful they could feel by changing their thoughts to a thought system of the Holy Spirit, which practices love and forgiveness, because that love and forgiveness is really just going to you.

Not only that, but ultimately, it will shift your experience to what you really are, which is perfect, and the body starts to feel different. You can start to feel lighter, not like this heavy thing that you’ve been dragging around your whole life. It can start to feel like if you’re in a dream, which is what it really is, because, you know, the Hindus and the Buddhists, and others, have always taught that the world is an illusion.

Today, scientists and physicists are saying the same thing, and the Course in Miracles also uses the word “illusion,” as my teachers do. But I think that the Course and my teachers further refine that idea into this being a dream that we will awaken from. That awakening is really enlightenment. It’s what Buddha meant when he said, “I am awake.” So it’s really the goal to awaken.

But you don’t have to wait 20 or 30 years and be a master before you can experience benefits from this. The benefits can be very practical: You feel better, you can think more clearly, you can receive guidance from the Holy Spirit, because as you undo the ego, the more in the spirit you are, and that’s where the word “inspired” comes from. Because the more in the spirit you are, the better ideas you’ll have. You’ll have ideas that will come into your mind that will tell you how to make things work. It will tell you how to live your life, where to go, you can actually be guided by the Holy Spirit.

So it’s not like you’re left out in the cold here. It’s really a very practical form of spirituality, which leads to many pleasant things, even success. There’s nothing wrong with having a good time and enjoying life while you appear to be here. It doesn’t matter that it’s just an illusion. You know, my hobby is to go to the movies, and when I go to the movies, I know that it’s not real, but that certainly doesn’t stop me from enjoying it.

JOHN PETROZZI: So in terms of illusion here, you’re saying life is an illusion. The Course in Miracles spoke about life, or they spoke about illusion as well. Does that mean this interview here isn’t quite happening, or is it happening out in ether? Or is this a part of you to forgive yourself through speaking to me and me to forgive myself through speaking to you, and whoever is listening to this to take on the message and in fact, forgive themselves? Is it real? What are you talking about?

GARY RENARD: Well, the best analogy that you can use would be look at the dreams that you had in bed last night. They do appear to happen, so dreams do appear to happen. This interview does appear to be happening; we can hear each other. But you can also hear things in your dreams at night and you can also see things, and that doesn’t make them real. It just means that they’re dreams.

What happens is eventually, you wake up from the dream, and the dream is gone. That’s exactly the same thing that’s going to happen with this dream that we appear to be conducting right now with this interview or with the world or with the things that we see on our TV screens or all the things that appear to be going on, including our relationships and the situations we’re in, and the events that we see. It’s like a dream that eventually we will awaken from.

So yes, it does appear to be happening, but that doesn’t make it real. That doesn’t mean that it’s really happening. Then when you wake up from the dream and experience reality, then you know that must be reality because they’re so much more real than what you’ve experienced. So you wake up from the dreams you have in bed and then suddenly, you find yourself in the bed, and you realise that you’ve never left the bed, but that you were there all along. It’s just that it was out of your awareness. It’s not that it wasn’t there; it was just out of your awareness.

It’s just that what we’re waking up to in the morning is a different form of dreaming on a seemingly more solid level, but it’s really just a different form of dreaming. Then eventually, the time will come that when we awaken to what we really are, which is this perfect oneness with God (that my teachers teach), then that will become your experience. You’ll find out that yes, it appeared that you were in this world going through all these things, but that was just a dream, too, and then, what you awaken to is so much more real and so much better than what you are experiencing in the world. You’ll understand when that happens that it has to be reality, because it’s so much more real than this is.

So it’s kind of like the very deep questions that we have—like “How did we get here? Where are we going? How do we get there?”—those questions kind of like disappear because when you wake up from a dream, the dream disappears, and then you realise that you were dreaming the questions. There are no questions in reality, because there’s only the answer, and the answer is God and the answer is perfect, where no questions can exist. So it’s kind of like the questions disappear when the answers show up, then that becomes your personal experience and there are no more questions.

JOHN PETROZZI: I kind of get what you mean. We’re meant to get to a break, but this is quite an interesting discussion we’re having here, so we’ll skip the music and we’ll keep going. I’ve got a question for you in terms of lessons learned. I’ve got the idea that we come from one essence and one being and one spirit – kind of like a big chocolate cake and we all divide up into smaller pieces of chocolate cake and we come down onto earth and we live as happily as small pieces of chocolate cake. What would be our lessons to learn? Who decides what lessons we’ve got to learn? Do we indeed actually learn them at time of death? And those that don’t, what happens to them?

GARY RENARD: Right. Well, the lessons that we learned were all determined right at that instant of separation, because it appears that things are playing themselves out in a linear fashion, our experiences, that one thing happens after another, and that we’re making us up as we go along.

The truth is that it’s all already happened, as Einstein said, “Past, present, future all occur simultaneously.” So the future is already there. All of our lessons have already been determined; they’re all determined all at once at that instant of separation, and everything that we see in this world is based on separation. So you have death in this world, and what happens when someone who you love dies, you lose them, you can’t find them, you can’t see them, and it’s a terrible feeling. That’s what it felt like when you thought that we’d lost God, when we left home in the thought that we’d done something wrong, just like Jesus’ prodigal son. So we felt very guilty and found a way to project that guilt outside of ourselves.

It’s kind of like the lessons that we’re going to learn have all been determined already and they are without fortuitous effect. It’s kind of like what happens out there on the screen that we’re looking at, that’s the effect. The trick is to go back to the level of cause, which is the mind, and kind of like take on the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of what you’re looking at. What you’re looking at is the ego spirit. What you’re looking at is a script that’s based on separation, which includes every form of separation that you can possibly come up with. Everything that we see here has a border or a limit or some kind of limitation, including human bodies.

When you go back to this perfect oneness in your experience, then that sense of separation disappears. At one point, A Course in Miracles says that a sense of separation from God is the only lack you really need to correct. If you could undo that idea of lack, then all the scarcity in your life will take care of itself, and eventually, you would no longer feel any scarcity and it wouldn’t matter what was happening. it wouldn’t matter if you had any money or not. It wouldn’t matter if you were poor, if you were rich, because you would always feel abundance. You would always feel this perfect oneness with God, in which no lack can exist, because in perfect oneness, you’d have everything by definition.

You no longer have to try to satisfy that feeling of lack with things out there on the screen, like money and sex and success. I’m not saying that you can’t have those things; I’m just saying that it’s not the be-all and end-all, because you realise that what you’re seeing out there on the screen is temporary. That’s what the Buddhists call “impermanent.” Reality, on the other hand, is permanent. Reality has an underlying cost and fee to it, which you can experience and it can never be taken away from you.

So the idea is to get back to that experience. But the lessons that you’ll be presented with to forgive have already been determined, so to speak, and now, we’re kind of like playing them out in a linear fashion, very much like watching a movie. In fact, A Course in Miracles says, “You are reviewing mentally that which is already gone by.” We’re actually seeing the world with the mind, but we think that we’re seeing it with the body. We’re actually seeing it with the mind, and the body itself is just part of the same projection, as everything else that we’re seeing. So even our own body is a projection, which we can experience as kind of like fading away and being transformed, much like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. You’re actually going up to a higher life form.

But what facilitates that is a metamorphosis, just like the caterpillar completely changes to a higher life form. In our consciousness, we shift from the experience of being this separate being to all of it, so it’s kind of like the forgiveness facilitates that metamorphosis to a higher life form. Eventually, we actually become the same as God in our experience. God really is perfect love, and God doesn’t think like people, because He’s not human. All that perfect love knows how to do is love. The beauty of that is that once again, it gives us a perfect home to go home to, which we will, in our experience. Then, when we’ve learned all of our lessons and completed our forgiveness opportunities here, that would become a permanent experience. And when we lay the body aside for the final time, as A Course puts it, “Our permanent reality will be with God.”

So until we do that, we’ll live the lifetime and we’ll appear to pass away and die, and then we’ll have that in-between life that some people call the “after-life.” Then we’ll appear to be born again into another body and it will just keep going on and on and on, until we wake up, until we learn our lessons and awaken as great masters, like Buddha and Jesus did. Ultimately, there will no longer be a need to reincarnate because there’d be no unconscious guilt in your mind, because it’s been completely healed by the Holy Spirit which is what happens when you practice the kind of forgiveness that comes from a place of cause and not effect.

When your mind is completely healed and there is no more unconscious guilt, then you don’t need other bodies to project it onto. You don’t need the universe of time and space, and all that’s left is perfection, which is just the most incredible experience. You can actually experience it while you still appear to be here. Once you do, then you’ll say, “Hey, just give me some more of that, because it’s so much better than what we have here.” Not that I’m saying you shouldn’t enjoy being here; I’m just saying that there is something better. That it really is better to be spirit than to be a body, just like it really is better to be a butterfly than to be a caterpillar.

JOHN PETROZZI: Okay. Gary, just before we wrap it up, I’d like to ask you something practical that we can take home and do.

GARY RENARD: Yeah. I would say that people have to have a thought system. That’s very important. Without a discipline, without a way of consistently interpreting everything in the world, then the mind will slip back into its old way of thinking and you’ll start reacting again to events like they’re real and you’ll be upset. I think that it’s important to train the mind to have some kind of discipline, which is what a great spiritual training, like A Course in Miracles does. It has a workbook that gives you exercises that you can consistently apply to the world.

That’s very important, because the way that you think determines everything about how you feel about yourself. You could heal most of the depression in the world, simply by training people to think in a consistent manner and in a positive and loving manner towards everything that they see. Because people don’t realise that the thoughts that they’ve been having are just going to them and that’s what makes them depressed. It’s not that they’re having all these terrible thoughts because they were depressed. The truth is, they became depressed because they had been having all these terrible thoughts. The thoughts come first, and the thoughts determine your experience, and ultimately, even your identity, as you’ll see it and believe that it is.

So a guy like Jesus would go through life even though you’d have normal relationships, you would think of people as being what they really are, which is nothing less than all of it, not part of it, but all of it, which is nothing less than God. By thinking of people that way, that’s how he eventually came to experience himself. The way he articulates it in A Course in Miracles, he says, “As you see him, you will see yourself.” That’s very important, because he says, “Never forget this: In that person, you will either find yourself or lose yourself.” So the way that we think about other people is way more important than people have ever realised, and it will determine our own experience of ourselves.

The good news there is that once you understand that, you can use that. You can be coming from a place of power, instead of a place of being a defect, where you are a victim of the world. It really is a much stronger and much more powerful place to be coming from. Eventually, you can get to the place where nothing in the world can make you afraid. Nothing in the world can harm you, because you realise that it’s a projection that’s coming from you that’s no more real than a movie screen, and the person who wrote and directed and produced the movie is you.

JOHN PETROZZI: Okay, great. Gary, that’s all we have time for, unfortunately. Thanks for coming on the show. I really appreciate your time.

GARY RENARD: It’s a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

JOHN PETROZZI: Pleasure. And I hope you enjoy the rest of your Australian trip.

GARY RENARD: Oh, we sure will.

JOHN PETROZZI: And that was Gary Renard, author of “The Disappearance of the Universe” and many other spiritual books. Check out his website and have a read of his book; it’s a good read.

And thanks for joining us today on Living is Easy. To listen to this and other podcasts, go to www.livingiseasy.com.au.

I’m John Petrozzi. Until next time, stay well and stay happy.