The following book report/ summary cannot replace reading this excellent book but will hopefully provide some useful information and encourage people to read the entire text.
WHO OR WHAT IS SETH?
The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts is the third in a series of three books purported to be dictated by a personality, or consciousness, “no longer focused in physical reality.” Jane Roberts became a “medium” quite by accident while playing with an Ouija game with her husband. Complicated and lengthy answers to questions they asked began to pop in their heads and, soon after, she felt compelled to speak them and did. The first book, The Seth Material describes her and her husband’s search for a “rational” explanation. Psychologists who examined her including one quite familiar with eastern religion were convinced she was not schizophrenic, had no split personality, and had no explanation for the phenomena called Seth. The second book, Seth Speaks, like The Nature of Personal Reality is entirely dictated by Jane Roberts as Seth. Seth Speaks is a dissertation on the nature of the universe, reincarnation, the physical and other planes of existence, God and other metaphysical and physical descriptions and explanations concerning the nature of our reality. The Nature of Personal Reality elaborates from that same perspective on what the supposed true nature of individuality is and gives suggestions for people to employ to change their personal lives.
I will first give a background description of what this particular view of reality is in order to hopefully, provide some framework that will assist in understanding the view of man’s personal reality and the suggestions given for creating personal change.
I. SETH’S VIEW OF REALITY
Seth’s view of reality is not new; bits and pieces of it have been proposed by essentially all religions and some psychologists (Jung, for example) and poets (Emerson). Larger portions of it have been discussed by mystics, clairvoyants and mediums who have spoken for and in many cases dictated material as in this case. Seth and Roberts’ material is more clearly and rationally stated than most other sources of spiritual information. It uses today’s English and gives succinct and comprehensive images of the reality proposed. My description here cannot do justice to what is described in detail in hundreds of pages of text.
The Universe, God, All That Is
The Universe, or God, or as Seth calls it the “All That Is,” is seen as an inconceivably powerful, benevolent energy gestalt. We, and everything else, are composed of its energy, and connected through energies that our five waking senses are not able to perceive. Man is seen as innately good, endowed with additional senses and capabilities he is just beginning to experiment with.
The Physical Plane/Life Is Continuous
Life is seen as continuous with the shedding of the physical form at death and consciousness still aware of its identity and either returning to the physical plane after a period of time or in some cases remaining in the non-physical state. (The non-physical or what the Hindus call the astral plane can be compared to dreaming when you are fully aware that you are dreaming and can control the contents of your dreams.) Supposedly, the consciousness, after death is often at first confused and is assisted by other consciousnesses in adjusting to the new reality. A period of
rest ensues, awareness of the entity’s true nature and additional senses and capabilities returns before a decision is made to return to the physical plane and as who and for what learning experience. It is ironic that from this view of reality the dream state is seen as more closely approximately the “true” nature of reality rather than our physical reality. The analogy can be drawn that our physical waking hours are like a learning seminar that we have chosen to attend for the period of our waking lives.
The physical world is seen as one of innumerable realities or worlds, physical and non-physical in which conscious entities choose to spend time learning what they feel is necessary for the evolution of their being.
View of Man
Man is seen as innately good. Endowed with access to the inexhaustible energies of the All That Is. Man is born in a “state of grace,” a connection with those energies that is often lost through our experience. Man is seen as innately creative and inquisitive. Man is viewed as a learning and evolving creature, very much akin to the existential-humanistic concept of a state of ever becoming.
Time–An Ever Present Now
According to this view time is a concept peculiar to our physical plane. A pale analogy at best would be that the universe is akin to an indescribably dazzling and intensely interrelated swirling mass of energy existing only in the present with no need for the concept of time to organize or define itself. (Imagine the timeless dream state where one moment only leads to the next.) Within this swirling energy conscious decisions can be made to “arrest” certain portions of that energy so instead of being in say a fluid state they become less active or solid. (One could imagine flying as if in an airplane through this swirling energy and coming upon a physical world floating in space as an airport appears when landing at night.)
The implication here in that there is no time, we are fooled by our particular focus as everything is an ever, instantly-changing now. Our past and future lives exist simultaneously with ours. The psychological implication of this is that if the past and future exist independently or in the present as well, according to Seth, the past as well as the future can be changed.
II. NATURE OF PERSONAL REALITY
Power of Mind
In this system, or view of man, thoughts are seen as energy, capable, when combined with belief (or faith, expectation) and emotion (or desire of creating physical reality. An analogy would be how dream state images of things and people are instantly created by thoughts. As Seth/Roberts states:
Experience is the product of the mind…
You are so intimately connected with the physical events
composing your life experience that often you cannot distinguish
between the seemingly material occurrences and the thoughts,
expectations and desires that gave them birth…
What exists physically exists first in thought and feeling.
There is no other rule…
Seth also states:
Matter is formed by those inner qualities that give it vitality,… structure follows expectation, matter at anytime can be completely changed by the activation of the creative facilities inherent in all consciousness…
You see and feel what you expect to see and feel. The world as you know it is a picture of your expectations.
Power of Beliefs
The conscious mind seems to be viewed as the mediator between the physical external world and the inner psychic one. Thought is the conscious mind’s basic tool. Emotion or desire appear to be the energy that creates physical experience and beliefs and expectation shape the energy into whatever event the belief or expectation is conceiving.
Beliefs are the impressions of reality formed by our conscious mind and taken as the truth. They are seen as determining both our emotional and physical reality. For example, if, as a child I formed a belief that my existence was endangered if I was separated from my parents, I could experience fear if I am separated or threatened with separation from a loved one in the present. Ideas or beliefs carry energy that naturally seeks to create itself, to “be” in some manner, and similar ideas attract and group to each other. If a person believes that life is hard and that you have to work for what you get, then those beliefs and ideas will attract to it events, and create events, wherein they will actualize themselves; life will be hard and you will have to work for all you get.
Adam and Eve —The Birth of Choices — Natural and Unnatural Guilt
The story of Adam and Eve is supposed to represent the birth of choice,
or the endowment of mankind with free will and self-consciousness, unlike
animals who operate instinctively without a self concept. Man now had both
the instinctual elements of animals as well as free will and “self-responsibility.
According to Seth/Roberts:
Guilt is the other side of compassion. Its original purpose was
to enable you to empathize on an aware level with yourselves and
other members of creaturehood, so that you could consciously
control what was previously handled on a biological level alone.
Guilt in that respect therefore has a strong natural basis, and when it is perverted, misused or misunderstood, it has that great terrifying energy of any runaway basic phenomenon. If you think you are guilty because you read one kind of book or another, or entertain certain thoughts, then you run particular risks. If you believe something is wrong then in your experience it will be, and you will consider it negative. So you will collect on “unnatural guilt”, one that you do not deserve but accept and so create.
So guilt is explained as a preventative method from keeping man from violating universal laws that he may be more out of touch with being somewhat separated from his instinctual nature. According to the author(s), “It does not carry with it any built in connection with punishment.” That appears to have been our doing with the help of those religions, cultures and parents who created and use artificial guilt with the fear of punishment or stigma attached to control our behavior.
Another unfortunate ramification of this natural guilt seems hinted at by the author(s) is that natural guilt needed memory in order that any previous acts that had aroused feelings of natural guilt could be remembered and avoided in the future. Man was meant to live basically in the present with an in-between moment of reflection in which new situations and experiences could be judged against recalled ones and evaluations made. The unfortunate aspect is that a great many people have abandoned the present to ruminate in the past or projected future.
III. SUGGESTIONS FOR PERSONAL GROWTH
The information and exercise for personal growth are scattered throughout the book. As far as I can tell the process would be developing awareness of the nature of one’s reality and ability to control it; and second, to examine and change beliefs and expectations and therefore change one’s experience as desired. Suggestions are given for 1) how to examine and change beliefs; 2) focusing oneself in “the power of the present”;
3) natural hypnosis; 4) self affirmation; and 5) miscellaneous exercises
Because beliefs are held to have the power of controlling experience, becoming aware of them appears to be a prerequisite for change. Beliefs are organized around “core beliefs” which are central, basic ideas, beliefs about life that an individual takes as fact and identifies with so that perceptions are automatically forced along that line. Core beliefs are often “invisible” and often not known in the person’s daily awareness. Other beliefs are usually organized around the core belief so that knowing core beliefs can provide shortcuts in the change process.
According to Seth/Roberts one of the troublesome beliefs in vogue at the time is that the subconscious and material in one’s subconscious is deep and hard to get at. Seth/Roberts states that it is only a belief that this material (core beliefs, experiences of the past, etc.) is deeply rooted and hard to get at that makes it so. (The consciousness is seen as all one with no divisions or limitations.) The first suggestion is to change that belief to one that says everything is as available and as conscious as I want it. This, in connection with not resisting emotions, will allow information to flow freely and will lead to core beliefs, (a claim I have verified for myself).
Examine Your Beliefs
It is suggested that as you go through your day you begin to examine the contents of your mind, writing down what seems to be your beliefs. Eventually sit down, relax and 1) have a talk with yourself, examining your beliefs and/or 2) allow your emotions to lead you to your beliefs. As time goes on beliefs will come more apparent (if you believe they will).
It is important to realize that beliefs are just that, beliefs. A
word from the author(s):
You must realize that any idea you accept as truth is a belief you hold. You must then take the next step and say “It is not necessarily true, even though I believe it.”
Also, believing that changing beliefs is easy, instead of hard, will
facilitate the process. One method for changing beliefs is in three
Generate emotion opposite the one that arises from belief desired to change.
Imagine events desired or opposite of belief wanted to change.
Assure yourself that the unsatisfactory belief is an idea about reality and not an aspect of reality itself.
Another suggestion is to use the above model in situations in which you desire your interaction with people to be different, and imagine yourself acting in line with the new way. See them reacting to you in the new way. This will send them a telepathic message and tell them that you are changing the conditions of your relationship.
Some people need the old framework or part you played before. Some will “drop out of your experience or you must drop them from yours.” It is noted that changing beliefs may change your perception and your experience, eventually it changes you. A period of fuzziness as a deep unconscious activity ensues.
It is stressed that emotions should not be ignored, shoved underneath,
or tried to be substituted for with good thoughts. Emotions are seen as a natural learning system if allowed to flow uninhibited. If unobstructed, emotions will lead you back to your beliefs, greater awareness and provids energy, an impetus, to take new action. Examining one’s beliefs about emotions generally, or specific ones, as to the values, or whether or not you believe certain emotions are bad or good will be helpful. For example, according to Seth someone might think:
“My trouble is that I am too emotional.” Yet on some analysis almost all will find areas in which emotion are expressed only to a certain point and not followed through.
You may believe that good mental health means being cheerful, resolute and kind, and never crying or showing disappointment. That belief above can lead you to deny quite natural dimensions of human experience and to impede the flow of emotion that could otherwise clear both your mind and body.
How one experiences or does not experience emotion will follow belief.
Point of Power
The present is defined as “the point at which flesh and matter meet with the spirit” the point from which you actualize events, or “the Point of Power.” If people assign or believe that they are at the mercy of the past, then they will be and will “feel ineffective,” and deny themselves the energy they have that comes from the present. Looking backward into the past is also seen as perpetuating a weakened state. The author states:
To look backward for the source of current problems can lead you into the habit of seeking only negative episodes from your past and prevent you from experiencing it as a source of pleasure, accomplishment or success.
The net result is reinforcement of problems.
Two exercises are given concerning the point of power. The first
seems to simply help identify it:
Sit with your eyes wide open looking about you, and realize that this moment represents the point of your power, through which you can affect both past and future events.
The second exercise referred to as a point of power exercise suggests
a five minute period each day in which the person should:
Concentrate on the fact that the point of power is now.
Feel and dwell upon the certainty that emotional, spiritual and psychic abilities are focused through the flesh.
For five minutes direct all of your attention to what is wanted/ desired. Use visualization or verbal thought (whatever is most natural), do not concentrate on any lacks. Use all attention and energy, make intentions clear.
Forget about it when finished, do not dwell on it.
Make one physical gesture or act that is in line with your belief or desires during the day. Example: if you are lonely and feel unwanted, it can be as simple as smiling at someone new.
The point of power exercise is meant to familiarize the person with their own energy and their ability to direct it. Natural Hypnosis exercises are to give “greater effectiveness in directing and focusing that power.”
The first exercise is to be used as a method of accepting desired new beliefs. For no more than five to ten minutes a day:
1) Concentrate on a simple statement; repeat it over and over, focusing on it.
Try to feel the statement in whatever way possible.
Do not allow distractions, if the mind insists on running about, channel images in line with declaration.
4) Do not strain.
It is noted that:
Verbal or mental repetition activates biological patterns and results.
This and the point of power exercise should be done on separate occasions during the day.
Some experimentation may be necessary until you feel right about the wording of the statement of belief or desire.
Three days are the very least necessary before any results could be apparent.
Spending longer on the exercise can simply reinforce the idea of problems involved.
The second method of natural hypnosis for altering beliefs and projecting future events suggests that the person say:
For a certain amount of time I will momentarily suspend what I believe in this area, and willfully accept the belief I want. I will pretend that I am under hypnosis, with myself as hypnotist and subject. For that time desire and belief will be one. There will be no conflict because I do this willingly. For this period I will completely alter my old beliefs. Even though I sit quietly, in my mind I will act as if the belief I want were mine completely.
Seth/Roberts goes onto say:
At this point do not think of the future, but only of the present. If you are overweight, insert the weight that you think is ideal for you while you are following this exercise. Imagine that you are healthy if you have the belief that you are not. If you are lonely, believe that you are filled with feelings of companionship instead. Realize that you are exerting your initiative to
imagine such situations. Here there can be no comparison with your normal situation. Use visual data, or words–whatever is most natural to you. And again, no more than ten minutes is required.
If you do this faithfully, within a month you will find the new conditions materializing in your experience. Your neurological structure will respond automatically. The unconscious will be aroused, bringing its great powers to bear, bringing you the new results. Do not try to overdo this, to go through the entire day worrying about beliefs, for example. This can only cause you to contrast what you have with what you want. Forget the exercise when it is completed. You will find yourself with impulses that arrive in line with these newly inserted beliefs, and then it is up to you to act on these and not ignore them.
Love and Self Affirmation
According to Seth/Roberts:
You must first love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and joyfully being what you are, you fulfill your own abilities, and your simple presence can make others happy. You cannot hate yourself and love anyone else. It is impossible. You will instead project all the qualities you do not think you possess upon someone else, do them lip service, and hate the other individual for possessing them. Though you profess to love the other, you will try to undermine the very foundations of his or her being.
When you love others, you grant them their innate freedom and do not cravenly insist that they always attend you.
Love for oneself or self affirmation, or affirming your rightness in
the universe is perceived as an important step in every human’s process.
You must begin to trust yourself sometime. I suggest you do it now. If you do not then you will forever be looking to others to prove your own merit to you, and you will never be satisfied. You will always be asking others what to do, and at the same time resenting those from whom you seek such aid. It will seem to you that their experience is legitimate and yours counterfeit. You will feel shortchanged.
The loving acceptance of yourself will allow you to ride through beliefs as you would through the changing characteristics of a countryside.
Seth/Roberts describes “feeling tones” or inner tones as sensations or vibrations unique to each person. An exercise is given to get in touch with this tone or energy and become aware of it as a portion of individual essence and experience its power, strength and durability. This exercise is the first given in the book.
Close your eyes, try to sense the deep feeling tone or tones. Do not worry how they should feel, simply tell oneself they exist, then let yourself experience.
If you are used to terms like meditation try to forget the term or its implications for this procedure.
No time limit. It is recommended to take a couple minutes to sense this feeling whenever nervous or upset in order to feel centered and secure. After doing this exercise several times feel these deep rhythms go out from you in all directions, as indeed they do.
Another exercise that seems designed to develop and form energy to change a belief or even affect a physical cure of some sort is described as follows:
Imagine yourself as a portion of an invisible universe, but one in which all the stars and planets are conscious and full of indescribable energy. You are aware of this. Think of this universe as having the form of a body. If you want to, visualize its outline brilliant against the sky. The suns and planets are your cells, each filled with energy and power but awaiting your direction.
Then see this image exploding into your own consciousness, which is unbelievably bright. Realize that it is a portion of a far greater dimension. Feel the entity sending you energy as you send energy to your cells. Let it fill your being and then direct it physically any place within your body that you choose.
If instead there is a physical event that you strongly desire, then use that energy to imagine its actual occurrence as vividly as you can. If you follow these directions and understand the meaning for them as given, you will find the results most startlingly and effective.
IV. MISCELLANEOUS SUGGESTIONS/NOTABLE QUOTES
You are in physical existence to learn and understand that your energy, translated into feelings, thoughts, and emotion, causes all experience. There are no exceptions.
Concerning the process of changing your beliefs:
You will do this by concentrating upon what you want, but feeling no conflict between that and what you have, because one will not contradict the other; each will be seen as a reflection of belief in daily life. As it took some time to build up your present image with its unhealthy aspects, so it may take time to change that picture. But concentration upon the present unhealthy situation will only prolong it. Period. Each condition is as real or unreal as the other.
The question, “What is wrong with me?”
Will only lead you to create further limitations, and to reinforce those that you do have …”
If any activity, odd or silly as it might seem, brings you a sense of satisfaction, pursue it. Any of these natural healing methods can even lead beyond feelings of well-being and strength, physical health and vitality, to those sublime experiences of illumination and grace.
If you truly understand your power of action and decision is in the present then you will not be hypnotized by past events.
The point of power, again is in the present, when your non-physical self merges with corporeal reality. The recognition of that fact alone can revitalize your life.
According to your energy, power and intensity you can help change the beliefs of many people. . .
Few studies have been done to discover why the happy man is happy, yet his answers would be highly pertinent.
Concerning spiritual approaches that suggests denial:
You attempt then to further banish the characteristic enjoyment of your own creaturehood, denying the lusty spirituality of your flesh and the strong present corporeal leanings of your soul. You will try to rid yourself of very natural emotions, and so be cheated of their great spiritual and physical motion.
You will not attain spirituality or even a happy life by denying the wisdom and experience of the flesh. You can learn more from watching the animals than you can from a guru or a minister— or from reading my book.
Power does not basically imply superiority over. There is the power off love, for example, and the power of love, both imply great action and vitality, and an aggressive thrust that has nothing to do with violence. Yet many people have physical symptoms or suffer unpleasant situations because they are afraid to utilize their own power of action, and equate power with aggression—meaning violence.
Love is propelled by all of the elements of natural aggression, it is_ powerful; yet because you have made such divisions between good and evil, love appears to be weak and violence strong.
In your terms, you are in a state of evolution as a species. Part of this experience includes a natural fascination with exterior events. You are developing properties of consciousness that are in their own way uniquely your own, as your environment is. A strong focus is a necessary counterpart, since you are involved in a learning process in which all elements inherent in the situation will be explored.
Demons of any kind are the result of your beliefs. They are born from a belief in “unnatural guilt”. You may personify them. You may even meet them in your experience, but if so they are still the product of your immeasurable creativity, though formed by your guilt and your belief in it.
Affirmation is in the spontaneous motion of the body as it dances. Many churchgoers who consider themselves quite religious do not understand the nature of love or affirmation as much as some bar patrons, who celebrate the nature of their bodies and enjoy the spontaneous transcendence as they let themselves go with the motion of their beings.
You often do love another individual because such a person evokes within you glimpses of your own “idealized” self. The loved one draws your best from you. In his or her eyes you see what you can be. In the other’s love you sense your potential.