A Description of the
Basics of Ascension
A New Attitude
Lila smiled. "So, gentlemen, what do you know about Ascending?"
Dave and I looked at each other; he said, "Not much. There are Twenty-seven
Techniques to experience the Ascendant, divided into Seven Spheres; each Sphere
is said to be more powerful than the one before. When does one graduate to the
next? When one masters the previous?"
"Yes, but not exactly. Full mastery of any of the Seven is probably impossible
until all are mastered, but there are general guide-lines of progress. We'll
talk more about that later... And why are you interested in Ascension?" This was
"My life wasn't working. I couldn't stop shooting myself in the foot. I'm tired
of that! If by settling down my mind, I can rewrite
the old destructive programs in there, that'd be great -- and if not that, even
having the deep rest I've seen when Sharon ascends would be wonderful. If it
works for me."
"Oh, it will. Ascension produces rest about twice as deep as sleep even for a
beginner; this allows stress to be thrown off gracefully
by the body. Properly practiced, it will work for anyone, because it is based on
the natural functioning of the mind and body, not on belief."
"So you're saying,"
commented the doctor, "Ascension taps us into a natural but unusual operation of
the nervous system?"
"Yes! Everyone is already Ascending all the time, to some extent. Today you'll
learn how to make it systematic."
"So we can Ascend at will," I said.
"Exactly. Whenever life becomes hectic or crazy or you feel stressed out, you
can Ascend -- with the eyes opened or closed. And from Ascending, return to
silence, to peace, to innocence."
"Like a child," breathed Sharon. "Life in the present moment. No worries about
the future; no regret for the past."
"Lots of potential in such a mind," observed Doctor Dave.
"Yes!" Lila beamed at them. "Because the baby hasn't been caught by the past or
the future, the power of its mind is awesome. This is what Ascension gives back
to us: the innocence and power of life in the present."
"I see," said the doctor. "The adult, abstracted away from the present, is often
caught by self-defeating beliefs and habits. And I
suppose we learn those from our family, our friends, our schools, our society --
from all life experience."
"Precisely; and these habits freeze life into patterns which are beyond
"Yes," he agreed thoughtfully. "The problem is: some of the beliefs we've
adopted are useful, some habits serve us, but many do not. It's useful to
remember how to read. It's useful to remember who our friends are. It's useful
to know our names. But so many of these internal programs serve no one in any
way. So many of them are damaging. So what do we do?"
"We learn how to use the mind differently! Instead of incessantly thinking,
chattering away, never ever stopping for rest, thinking
the same thing we thought yesterday and the day before and the day before that,
over and over and over again, pointlessly noisy, going nowhere -- instead of all
that, we rediscover silence inside. We learn to experience the present. We stop
regretting the past, we
stop worrying about the future. We begin to be Here and Now. Then the full power
of the mind is available every moment."
"I think I'm with you," I commented. "You're saying the mind is like a pond.
Thoughts are like waves in the pond. We've all dropped a single stone into a
quiet pool -- it creates gentle, beautiful ripples across the surface of the
water. This is like having only
one thought moving through the mind, isn't it? The mind is coherent, it is
orderly, it is powerful. But if several stones, a whole
handful, fall into the water? Chaos. The waves become choppy. Some trough are on
top of crests; many get canceled out. This is like the mind when it is caught by
those continually running internal programs. It keeps going and going and going
and nothing comes of it except fatigue."
"Exactly! And further: a clear mind creates a healthy body. Your body is already
creating trillions of chemical reactions every
second, did you know? For example, when your mind is tense, anxious, nervous,
your body produces tense, anxious, nervous molecules."
"Like adrenaline and noradrenalin," agreed the doctor. "That's so. And when the
mind is calm and peaceful, the body produces calm and peaceful molecules -- like
Valium. The body is already producing chemicals similar to any I can prescribe,
but it is doing it without the side effects. When my body creates Valium, it
means I feel tranquil but don't also feel spaced-out. When our bodies produce
immune-stimulating agents or anti-cancer drugs or anti- aging hormones, these
have no damaging side effects. Our bodies do this all the time, when we're not
stressed... So that is the effect of Ascending. This I can understand! So, how
do we learn?"
"Simply," said Lila, smiling affectionately at him. "And soon. But first, I have
three requests to make of you, three requests Alan
says are necessary to ask anyone desiring to learn Ascension.
"One. It is necessary to make a commitment of time. Ascension is powerful but
subtle; it may take a few days or even weeks of regular practice to notice the
benefits overtaking your life. So, will each of you do this?"
"Of course," both the doctor and I declared willingly.
"Very good. Two. Ascension works best if we are innocent with it. Believing in
it is not necessary, nor is it necessary to expect any
kind of experience when we are Ascending. In fact, even the slightest
expectation slows down the innocent inward movement of the
mind. Belief is not required, it is positively not required. So, to the best of
your ability, no expectations, OK?
"And three. I have to ask you to keep this confidential until you are trained to
teach it. Ascension is delicate; the First Attitude
is so simple, it seems anyone could do it. And anyone can, yet without proper
instruction, it could be misunderstood. If you give
it to people before they are ready for it, not only will they not appreciate it,
they will criticize it and condemn you for practicing
it. They will judge you and reject Ascension without ever giving it a chance.
So: do you agree to keep this technique confidential until
you are trained as Teachers of Ascension?"
"Absolutely," I agreed with complete sincerity.
The doctor said again, "Of course."
"Great... I want you to know, I'm so pleased you're doing this, I'm so happy
you've come all the way to Patmos to learn this age-old Science. You're going to
"Please understand: this is quite ancient. It's not an invention from some
recent person's mind. I believe it came from Isha, the
Christ, through his Apostle John. But you don't have to believe that; you don't
have to believe anything. I'm just putting it in an
historical context for you.
"These Twenty-seven Techniques were preserved throughout the centuries by the
Ishaya monks, but the understanding that this
Teaching is for everyone became confused. Somewhere down the long centuries, the
monks began to consider the average person unworthy of Ascension. In order to
learn, it was required to become a recluse and devote one's entire life to the
"But Ascension is and always has been completely natural. Ever since humans have
existed, we have had the ability to rise in our
thoughts, to Ascend. It is easy to imagine this Teaching coming up at different
times in different parts of the world, when anyone
realized it must be simple and natural to return life to the innocence of the
child, to life in the present moment."
"Sure," the doctor agreed. "Examples of Ascending can be found in all cultures
by people of all ages and all religions. Since this is
so, Ascension can't require belief of any kind."
"That's right! People have experienced it jogging, staring at the stars, at the
beach, while praying, during childbirth, over a full
desk on a crowded day -- everywhere throughout the full range of human
experience. Ascension comes to people at any unpredictable time. So it must be
something built into the fabric of the human nervous system. Anyone anywhere at
any time can and does Ascend. As I said, we're just making it repeatable and
"OK." She paused a moment as if gathering her mind. "So, let's begin. Most of
the Twenty-seven Attitudes have three parts: one for
the heart, one for the mind, and a focus for our awareness.
"According to modern science, our emotions are centered in the right hemisphere
of the brain. In most of us, the right brain is spatial, holistic, intuitive,
creative, artistic, emotional. Of these, it is the emotions that most cause us
to Ascend -- or descend. Negative emotions, for example, cause a lowering of our
life, a descension."
"That's undoubtedly true," agreed the doctor. "Anger shuts down the brain and
internal organs so more blood can go to the muscles. It speeds up the heart and
increases blood clotting factors. This is the classic 'fight-or-flight'
response. Once it was needed -- when you were about to be eaten by a
saber-toothed tiger, for example. You don't need to be digesting lunch if you
are about to be someone else's! Fight for your survival or run away. Useful
response. Still is, when faced by a crack addict with a switchblade in a dark
alley. But the problem is: fight-or-flight is turned on all the time in our
modern world -- when someone cuts us off on the freeway, when our boss yells at
us, when we miss a traffic light. Our blood pressure goes up and stays up; the
internal organs remain shut down until they fail."
"Precisely!" Lila beamed at him again. "But there are also built into everyone
positive emotions; these cause Ascension."
"Such as love," said Sharon, gazing at me. I blushed.
"Yes, and it is love that is the most powerful of the Ascending emotions. This
is why almost every culture in the world has said,
'God is Love.' Love is the most powerful way to Ascend."
"I've often believed that," said Dave. "Whenever we feel love, our minds
function more effectively, our bodies respond by producing the molecules of
"Yes," agreed Sharon warmly. "And you don't notice surface imperfections when
you're in love. Your vision is broader. Happiness
is greater. If you stub your toe when you've fallen in love, you hardly notice
it. But break up with your boyfriend and then stub
your toe! 'Why is God so cruel to me! Life is hell!'"
"The difference is obvious," said Lila. "How you feel when you're in love --
this is the sweet influence of Ascension."
"There's a problem with love," I protested, thinking I saw a flaw in her logic.
"It's hard to manipulate. You can't turn it on at will.
If I were to tell you and Dave to go out on the verandah and fall in love --
maybe you would, but maybe you wouldn't... Well, you two would! But there are no
guarantees. Christ said, 'Love your enemies,' and 'Love thy neighbor as
thyself;' look what happened to his Teaching. No one does it, no one can do it.
It doesn't work."
"Actually," said Lila slowly, "you're right -- for most people. Love is hard to
make happen. That is why we don't start with the Love Attitude. The Love
Technique is third. Of the three primary Ascending emotions, Love is the hardest
to create at will. But there are two others.
"Similar in strength to Love is Gratitude. Thankfulness produces similar changes
in the body and the mind. And Gratitude is easier to culture than Love -- if I
were to give you one thousand pounds sterling, for example, you would most
likely feel some thankfulness to me."
"But again!" I exclaimed, continuing my skeptic's role. She had said belief was
not required; I wanted to put this to the test.
"Gratitude has earned a bad name in the world. We've been told to be thankful so
many times when we don't feel it. I so much wanted an electric train for
Christmas when I was seven, and what I got was a fuzzy ugly olive green sweater
-- and then I was told I had to be grateful anyway! I guess I don't feel
thankful very often."
"Well, you're right again! Many of us have been told to be grateful so much, we
would rather eat nails. So even though it's easier to
develop than Love, it's still not altogether easy, which is why Gratitude is
part of the Second Attitude, not the First."
"OK," I said, chuckling. "I'll be good. What's the emotion in the First
Attitude?" My curiosity was larger than my skepticism.
"Appreciation. Or in one syllable, Praise. Appreciation is almost as powerful as
Love and Gratitude, and it's a lot easier to turn on at will. You can simply
shift your mind toward appreciation instead of criticism; your body responds by
making you healthier as your mind becomes happier. We can choose to be sad that
a glass is half empty or choose to be happy a glass is half full. It's
completely within our power; it's all a matter of choice. And the simple truth
is that condemnation never helps anyone improve, whereas appreciation always
"I've seen this in action," said Sharon. "With my niece Liza. One time when I
was staying with them, Liza came home from school with a drawing she'd made. But
my sister Linda was tired, she'd had a hard day at work; instead of thanking her
for it and praising her for her creativity, she was short with her and
criticized her for it. And you know what? The next day, Liza dragged home from
school with a worse drawing.
"But that day Linda had changed her thinking, decided to appreciate, and was
lavish in her words. And the next day, Liza bounced joyfully home with a third
drawing, by far the best of the three. It was amazing. Every part her mother had
praised was drawn better than the first day."
"Exactly! Praise works like magic for anybody, for anything, always. And it's
just a choice: a choice for joy and life. It is the easiest
of the Ascension emotions, because it grows from simply making the decision to
appreciate rather than condemn. Our society may have programmed criticism deeply
into us, but whenever we find ourselves moving down that descending path, it's
easy to turn upward, simply by finding something to appreciate. Anywhere, about
anything, to anyone, always."
"So, for the right brain, we choose to appreciate rather than judge?" I asked.
That didn't sound too difficult. "This seems pretty
"It is. It's simple and basic. The Cathedral of Ascension is built on the
rock-hard foundation of perfect simplicity, the sign of
"So, for the right brain, for our emotional side, Appreciation is the force, the
driving emotion, that causes Ascension. OK? Good.
Now, the left hemisphere of the brain also has certain thoughts that cause
Ascension. The left brain is logical, verbal, analytical,
mathematical, rational. Thoughts that cause Ascension here are those of
"Like staring at the sky in January on a moonless night?" asked Sharon dreamily.
"When you think there are as many as four hundred billion stars in our Milky
Way? When you remember some of those points of light are really distant galaxies
and there are as many as one thousand billion galaxies in this Universe, each
one containing an average of two hundred billion stars -- the whole thing is so
huge? Who wouldn't feel the awe of this?
"And it all proceeds with such perfect order! Who keeps the natural laws
functioning so the atoms don't implode? Why does the ratio of a circle's
circumference to its diameter equal 3.14159265? Such magnificent order,
everywhere! It stuns my mind."
"Right," agreed Lila, looking pleased. "Your left brain is awed by such
thoughts, which causes a slight degree of Ascension for you.
But it's different for everybody."
"I see this," said the doctor. "For me, I feel awe when I think of the order in
the human body. Fifty trillion cells, all operating in
harmony. And inside each of the fifty trillion is the wonder of the DNA molecule
-- a molecule so complex that it contains life itself
-- a molecule so compressed that were one from any cell stretched out, it would
be six feet long!
"The exalted mystery throughout the body! You inhale a bacteria, one of a kind
you've never met, but your great-great-great-great
grandmother did, 200 years ago or 2,000 years ago or 20,000 years ago and your
DNA remembers how to educate your defensive machinery, your macrophages and
killer T-Cells and lymphocytes, to destroy it! Such intelligence there is in
Nature! Such brilliance!"
"Yes," agreed Lila again, "these are all examples of left brain Ascension
thoughts. Do you see how they work? They involve some sort of analysis of life
to create expansion, awe, wonder. It is an incredible, magical universe;
everyone sees this in a different way,
through the filter of his or her own left brain."
"So what I want for Ascension," I said, a little bored by their examples, "is
not any old awe-inspiring thought, but the Ultimate
Thought of my rational side, personally chosen by me for me, like..." I offered
"Exactly, yes!" agreed Lila, chuckling at my choice. "Very good. And for you,
dear doctor..." She helped him discover his private vehicle for Ascension.
"What if you don't believe this will work?" I asked, playing skeptic again.
"No problem! It doesn't matter. We don't have to believe in Ascension for it to
happen. Part of the mind would like to believe
in it, part of the mind would like to reject it; this makes no difference.
Belief is from the surface of the mind, which we Ascend
immediately anyway. We're creating your most effective path to the Ascendant.
Ascension is built of a series of individualized
techniques; it's not a belief system."
"Can we change our Ultimate Thought as we're Ascending?" asked Dave.
"Of course! The idea we choose need not remain the same; it will change as life
experience changes. You've just picked one now to
begin with: it's necessary to have a starting point.
"Now we take these two, appreciation for the right brain and our Ultimate
Thought for the left brain and add one final concept and we will have our first
Ascension Attitude. Remember I said most of these techniques are built of three
parts? The first two parts
together cause a slight Ascending... Do you feel this, by the way? Some
upliftment from these two? I don't mean the words, I mean the feeling behind the
"Yes, I do," I agreed, surprised that I actually did feel lighter. The doctor
and Sharon murmured their assent.
"Great. So now, we want to take this Ascending motion and focus it onto the root
stress of modern life. When this happens, the whole structure of our old
internal programming falls apart."
"How does that work?" I asked curiously.
"Did you see any of those wonderful old arches still standing in Athens? In
Greece and Rome, the great arches were created by
building up a huge pile of sand under the stones for the legs. No arch could
stand until the final piece, the keystone, was installed.
When the keystone was in place, the sand was removed; since the opposing
tensions were equal, the arch would not fall; many of these still stand, 3,000
years later. That is why your Pennsylvania calls itself, 'the Keystone State,'
by the way. They felt they were the indispensable link in the Colonies'
"Similarly, some of the stresses in our lives are supporting others. If we can
remove the root stress, all the others will leave, for
their support will be gone. It's hard to destroy a building by shoving it over.
But it's easy to collapse it by removing the
foundation. It's hard to break addictive and self-destructive habits in their
own space. But it's easy to undermine them by erasing the
fundamental stress that gives them life. To kill a tree, kill the root; the
leaves wither and die...
"So, what do you think is the root stress of modern life?"
"Separation," answered the doctor.
"The ego," I answered.
"Yes, to both of you! So the antidote to our deepest stress is to apply the
movement of Ascension back onto it..."
She explained exactly how to do that and continued, "These, then, are the three
parts of the First Ascension Attitude: Appreciation
for the heart; our Ultimate Thought for the mind, then a focus back onto our
subjective self. Just this much, no more, no less. We move upward, we Ascend,
then we apply the Ascendant onto the fundamental root stress, back onto our
belief that our lives are separate, ruled by the ego. We expand to Universality
then contract back to individuality; this dissolves anything standing in the way
of our connection with the Ascendant in the process."
"So," I said slowly, "This First Attitude simply adds one new triple thought to
the ocean of thoughts we already have."
"Like a needle in our hand to remove all the old painful thorns," commented
"Like a catalyst to precipitate out our stress," added the doctor. "One new
thought with three parts to replace the 50,000 thoughts we normally think
throughout the day. And, since the mind can only do one thing at a time, if we
continually introduce this new thought, we replace all the old thoughts."
"You've got it!" exclaimed Lila. "By choosing over and over again for the
Ascension Attitude, all the other thoughts race away. This
becomes the new root thought in the mind; all the small and mean and false
thoughts are erased. The Ascension Attitude is like the big fish in the pond.
When the big fish comes, all the little fish run away. You feel lighter,
clearer, calmer, more peaceful."
"I've been finding," said Sharon, "every day, at each and every moment, I always
have a choice, which kind of thought I wish to
have. I introduce my Ascension Attitude all the time; I'm discovering silence,
coherence and peace where I never thought I would. I may never understand why
life happens as it does; but I've realized that's not my job. It is my job to
make the most out of every moment; Ascension is the key for me to do that."
"That's the way it works," agreed Lila. "That's why you're ready for the Second
Technique; the First has become a deep groove in your mind. Since you've been
Ascending any time you remember to, it has been rewriting your outmoded
judgments, beliefs and habits. Well done!
"Now, the greatest value of Ascension comes from taking it inward, to use it as
a tool for inner exploration. This makes the new
paradigm stronger in the brain and rewrites the old programs more and more
"Isn't that hard to do?" asked the doctor. "Many people have written it's
difficult to Ascend. They've stood in ice water up to their
necks in the middle of winter. They've bent their bodies into pretzels. They've
sat between four fires with the summer sun burning
golden overhead as their fifth. They've forced their minds eighteen hours a day
to experience the slightest degree of Ascension! It is
hard to do, isn't it?"
"No, its the simplest thing you'll ever do! It takes less effort to Ascend, not
more. Those who think it's difficult believe the mind is like a monkey,
jumping from branch to branch. They believe the only way to stop its erratic
jumping is to beat it and whip it and force it to be still. But this tires the
mind and raises the metabolic rate. It is not and never will be effective for
"That makes sense to me," I said. "If I have a dog I want at my back door, I
could chain it there, but it wouldn't like me much. It would howl and moan and
complain all the time and bite me if it got the chance. Forcing the mind seems
like that to me. I don't want to do that."
"But suppose you open the door from time to time and put out dog food, the dog
will never leave your porch!" exclaimed Sharon. "And he'll be your best friend
"So, what's the favorite food of the mind?" I asked. "No, I already know. It's
the Ascendant, isn't it?"
"That's right," agreed Lila, smiling at us. "You see, the mind is like a monkey,
jumping from branch to branch, but it jumps because
it's seeking an Ideal Banana. The mind jumps because it's seeking an Ideal
Experience. Only the Ascendant is capable of satisfying this wanderlust of the
mind, for only the Ascendant is the home of all intelligence, happiness, energy,
"The mind follows its bliss, as Joseph Campbell put it," said the doctor.
"You're saying that the bliss is already there, deep inside; Ascension points
the way to it."
"Yes, this brings us full circle back to the Ascension Attitudes," agreed Lila.
"Each of the techniques of Ascension has a meaning on
the surface of the mind. But because of their Source, each also has the unique
quality of being more true and more enjoyable at deeper levels of thinking.
Because this is so, the mind is drawn inward effortlessly.
"Therefore, no effort is required to Ascend! In fact, even the slightest effort,
even the slightest desiring for the experience to be like something, or to be
specific somehow, will slow down this process. From our side, we must always be
innocent about Ascension.
This is the first and most important rule. In fact, it's the only rule. We
never, ever try to Ascend.
"So, you're prepared. Now we'll do it.."
I felt a little silly and self-conscious at first, but only for a moment.
Gradually, I sank deeper and deeper into Silence. A few thoughts came up, but
the comfortable repetition of the Ascension Attitude soon banished them. I
slipped effortlessly inward on a soft, warm cloud of golden light.
I had come home for the first time in my life; I was alive and well in my soul,
more so than any time since I was a tiny, tiny child..
I was a stranger no longer. I was no more lost and alone. I had come home.
Used by permission of
the "Society for Ascension" at
Book Excerpts - Second Thunder
"First Thunder" Excerpt