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"The most important discoveries you will make are the beliefs and belief systems contained in your own consciousness."
                                        -- Harry Palmer

ReSurfacing® is a Wake-Up Call, an interview with Harry Palmer

[This interview originally appeared in Avatar Journal. Used with permission.]

Journal: Where did the title ReSurfacing® come from?

Harry: If you've ever done any scuba diving, you probably know the exhilaration that occurs when you finish the dive and begin your slow ascent. A number of things happen during the ascent. There is a natural relaxation as the pressures reduce, the light grows brighter, the sound of your breathing has a quieting effect on the mind. From below, the surface of the water is the limit of one reality. Resurfacing is at once a crossing over, a leaving, a returning.

I chose the title because of those feelings. The ocean, with its currents, secrets and depths, is an analogy for consciousness. The ReSurfacing processes are a path of ascent through the levels and currents of consciousness back into awareness.

Journal: Would you clarify your distinction between consciousness and awareness?

Harry: Consciousness is awareness plus -- plus definition, plus judgment, plus time, plus effort, plus desire, plus resistance, etc. Awareness is pure being, nonspatial, nontemporal, effortless, definitionless. Source. It is the essence of consciousness.

Journal: Is this similar to the distinction you make between understanding and experience?

Harry: Similar, yes. Understanding, misunderstanding, confusion are all functions of consciousness. Understanding simply means you have enough space to arrange your conscious creations in an order that is acceptable to you. Space is determined by the sphere of responsibility you assume. You can achieve understanding in two ways. Either reduce the number of conscious creations by quieting the mind, or broaden your sphere of responsibility to create more space. Meditate or achieve.

Confusion is disorder, worry. There are too many creations, too little space, too many thoughts, not enough responsibility. The state of a person's possessions is a reflection of their conscious state. Cleaning the attic or the garage can have a therapeutic effect on consciousness -- more than worrying does. Worry is trying to cram thinking into too small a space. Worrying is the Bermuda Triangle of consciousness. Awareness mysteriously vanishes.

Experience requires a degree of awareness. When you find someone who substitutes understanding or thinking for experiencing, you're looking at someone whose awareness is exhausted. They're too deep in consciousness.

Journal: So is understanding bad?

Harry: In terms of gratification, understanding is above reacting but below experiencing. Would you rather eat an apple or understand it? Either is better than being frightened by an apple. It is the same with life -- better to experience it.

Journal: I think it was in Living Deliberately that you said, "Believing defines realities and experiencing dissolves realities -- that is the cycle of creation." So someone who is unable to experience is unable to create?

Harry: Yes. If they're unable to experience, they're unable to change their beliefs, which is a necessary step to creation.

Journal: I use the word "experience," and you use the word "experience," but I'm not always sure we're talking about the same process. Can you describe in detail the process you refer to when you use the word "experience"?

Harry: The actual process of experiencing is converting consciousness back into awareness. Consciousness is created by believing a creation into existence. Awareness plus creation equals consciousness. One, if not the, fundamental creation is "I am." It's at the root of personal consciousness.

Consciousness contains definitions and separation. This idea and that table, two definitions that are separate. Me and the ceiling, two definitions that are separate. You and me, two definitions that are separate. Space or time is necessary for us to discern this separation.

Awareness, or pure beingness, though evident source of space and time, does not itself contain space or time. Hence it is also without separation, without definition. So the process of experiencing is removing separation. Digestion of definition and event.

Journal: Okay so far. How do we do that?

Harry: The bridge across separation is perception. Appreciate your perceptions just as they are, without judgment or evaluation, without desire or resistance. Separation disappears and awareness returns. The closer you come to perceiving life as a continual flow, rather than as separated events, the closer to awareness.

Journal: Would you talk about the relationship between resistance and consciousness?

Harry: Resistance is an opposition, due to some belief, to experiencing something just as it is. It's an attempt to create from consciousness rather than from awareness.

Time is the primary resistance that consciousness creates. It delays experience so that an event can be understood -- meaning sorted and categorized according to prior stored events and preserved as consciousness.

Adding time transforms the flow of experience (what's happening now) into defined, separate events with beginnings and ends that are stored as a time track of creation. Awareness is timeless.

These resisted events will still be experienced, eventually. Maybe little by little over a long period or all at once at some future time when consciousness has collapsed in on itself over and over and reached some critical mass.

This is the mechanism behind the idea of karma. Whatever you create, you will eventually experience. What goes around, comes around.

The intention with which you launched the creation will determine the suffering or joy you perceive as associated with the experience when it comes around. So both judgments imagined at receipt and intentions included at creation can color an experience. Quiet one and appreciate the other.

Experiencing transforms definition into awareness, turns life back into living. Experiencing is perceiving things as they are created, without adding any new judgments or considerations about how they ought to be.

Desiring to understand something can be a resistance toward experiencing mystery. Resistance to mystery motivates the seeker. Resistance to mystery makes people gullible to prophets and priests. The common bond of many groups is their shared solution to mystery.

You could create a scale of resistance to mystery that begins with a desire to analyze and descends through intention, effort, energy, space, time, matter. What is the smallest particle of matter? The unknown particle! The mysterytron! No matter how small it is, you wonder what half of it would look like.

Knowledge is a rational, ordered plan of resistance to experiencing the unknown. It's a plan that fails at the death of consciousness.

Journal: What about desire?

Harry: Desire is a resistance to being without. Desire or resistance is the same disease toward experience. The opposite of resistance or desiring an experience is appreciating the experience at hand. Resistance (and desire) leads deeper into consciousness. Appreciation leads to awareness. Aware in life, aware in consciousness, aware in dreams, aware in death. Remaining aware is not the same as remaining conscious.

Journal: Are you anti-consciousness?

Harry: Resist consciousness? You'd sink like a rock.

It's better to appreciate consciousness. Think of it as a survival tool, or a playground.

The idea is not to make yourself wrong, bad or stupid for desiring or resisting something. The idea is to become familiar with the effort and, by experiencing it, resurface into awareness.

It's like diving. You venture into the ocean, but you take a tank of air with you, and you don't go so deep that you forget to go back to the surface. Explore consciousness, enjoy it, but don't let your awareness run out.

Journal: What is at the bottom of consciousness?

Harry: Belief. Resistance. Matter. Mystery.

Journal: How do you respond to people who resist doing the ReSurfacing exercises?

Harry: I would encourage them to appreciate their resistance and transform it into awareness. Trading awareness for safety is a risky proposition. It's domestication. Unless you make a very good slave or pet, you're headed for the dinner table. Awareness builds self-confidence. Beyond that I would say that if you're not ready to take an honest look at your life, even in the privacy of your own home, leave the book on the shelf. Wait for the right opportunity.

Journal: You are quoted as saying, "The past does not influence people." I, as well as some others I have talked to, feel influenced by the past. What do you mean?

Harry: Let's agree on a definition. Past means something is over, it's gone by, it's ended. When something is over, gone by or ended, it doesn't influence your experience of what's present now. What does influence and even shape your present state of mind are the events that you've resisted and that are still trying to unfold. This is the "past" that influences you, but it really isn't past, is it? It's not over and gone. It's still resisted in consciousness and still waiting to be appreciated.

You are not influenced by what you have experienced (the real past), but by what you have resisted experiencing (the past riding forward).

Journal: Please talk about grace.

Harry: I think grace is always here, and you receive it to the degree that you are open to it. When you're resisting, you're not open. No grace, suffering.

Gratitude opens a crack in consciousness that lets grace in. Being grateful opens you to grace. Complaining, judging, resisting, all lead to suffering.

Journal: What is the essential message of ReSurfacing?

Harry: The message depends upon the reader's relationship to the exercises. If the person hasn't heard of ReSurfacing, there's no message at all. If the person has only heard about ReSurfacing, then the message is really the message of the person who tells him or her about it. When a person does the exercises, magic happens and the essential message of ReSurfacing appears from within the person. It is the personal experience of a new beginning.

People have forgotten how to make new beginnings. There are fewer and fewer new frontiers to immigrate to.

Without new beginnings, there is only dying. This is what many people are doing daily. Dying. Sinking further and further into their own resisted creations. Dying and resisting are the same process. It's called suffering, and it's not very effective except at creating solid particles.

Life is in the other direction!



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