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Welcome to chapter two. Chapter one was all about the awakening experience and how radically transformative it can be. Here in chapter two, we’ll cover the mechanics of moving through the Course quickly, easily, and joyfully! I’ll share with you how the Course is organized and how to use the state-of-the-art Learning Management System (LMS) in which it’s presented.
There are 36 “milestones” in the Course. These are distinctive states of consciousness. They are markers along the path. As you examine your own experience, you’ll quickly realize that you’ve already been in many of these places in consciousness. You’ll check off milestones as you complete them. You’ll find yourself completing several of the milestones on the first day.
PB’s exercises are designed to move you from milestone to milestone. Think about the warmups you perform before you begin lifting weights. Or the stretching you do to prepare yourself for a strenuous yoga class. Or learning to isolate a particular muscle and strengthen it before attempting a complex whole-body exercise. The preparatory work sets you up for success in the later endeavor.
In just the same way, the Course exercises are in logical sequence. There are some exercises that PB recommends you practice only at the beginning of the Quest. Others he advocates in the middle, and yet others near the end.
This is extremely valuable information. Practicing an advanced exercise in the wrong place can result in frustration and burnout. PB says that this even results in people abandoning the Quest completely. So it’s well worth knowing the most useful sequence.
The Course organizes all of PB’s milestones and exercises in order, so you move through them in a logical progression. You’ll find that this order makes intuitive sense.

Systematizing Enlightenment

Laying out the Quest as a step-by-step process, based on the combined wisdom of the ages, is beyond valuable. When you’re at a milestone, you can see what lies ahead. When you’re at an uncomfortable or difficult stage, looking forward to future milestones shows you that it’s a temporary stage, one that will come to an end.
When you’re flying high, reading ahead and discovering that this euphoria is likely to be temporary eliminates the surprise of a subsequent descent. Time-tested exercises accelerate your progress through the milestones.
Many authorities haven’t believed that this systematic approach to the Quest is possible. In The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, author Carl McColman writes that “no program of mystical development … no step-by-step process for ‘becoming a mystic’ can ever be written or implemented” (Coleman, 2010, p. 125).
While McColman’s book contains many illuminating insights, PBs identification of common milestones on the Quest along with appropriate exercises can indeed systematize mystical development as surely as the development of any other skill.

Preparatory Step One: Remembering Ecstasy

To prepare you for the Short Path exercises and milestones, you’ll first use a set of meditations. These are based on the latest neuroscience, and they stimulate the production of seven key neurochemicals in your brain. They are: Serotonin, Oxytocin, Nitric Oxide, Beta Endorphin, Norepinephrine, Dopamine, and Anandamide.

Neurotransmitters like dopamine are part of the “reward system,” while hormones like oxytocin are the biochemical basis of love and emotional bonding. You’ll use each meditation for 3 days, then go on to the next one. These pleasure neurochemicals give you what PB calls a “Glimpse” of the Infinite.

A randomized controlled MRI trial of EcoMeditation found that a month of practice produces significant change in two brain regions. It downregulates the mid-prefrontal cortex, a key node of the Default Mode Network. Simultaneously, it upregulates the insula, the center of compassion, gratitude and happiness. 

These meditations will propel you into elevated mental and emotional states. They’re designed to give you the “felt sense” of ecstasy in your body. When you read the inspired poetry of Rumi, or the “interior castle” of Saint Teresa, it’s clear that these mystics were experiencing the highest levels of ecstasy.

These weren’t just spiritual states. They were brain states and chemical molecules too. By studying the brains of modern-day monks and nuns having similar experiences, science has been able to identify exactly what neurochemicals are active during the mystical experience.

These special mediations you’ll listen to first are carefully designed to stimulate their production. You’ll listen to them for 21 days at the very start of the Course. They’ll put you in a “flow” state and remind you of the peak experiences or “Glimpses” you’ve had in the past.

You’ll have access to these meditations throughout the Short Path Course. You’ll also meet with your Mentor before and after that 21 day period, and share your experiences.

Preparatory Step Two: Clearing Trauma

The second preparatory step is called the Personal Peace Procedure. It uses evidence-based psychological tools to release the emotional triggering of past events.

The reason we do this before starting Paul Brunton’s exercises is simple. Neuroscientists guiding people through Short Path work have found that many of them experience the “Dark Night of the Soul.” This is just what it sounds like, traveling in consciousness to a dark place in which the light of the journey is lost. It can be scary and disorienting, and Brunton says that many people are scared away from the spiritual path after a Dark Night experience.

The reason why people walking toward the light instead drop into the Dark Night is simple. When you reach for ecstatic states, you’re bathing your psyche in love. That love shines a light on all the dark and wounded parts of self. These traumatized parts, living in the shadow, cannot face the light. They often rise up in fear. They obscure the light, stopping our forward movement.

These wounded parts originated in unhealed trauma, usually from childhood. If you release your trauma, and integrate your wounded parts using the Personal Peace Procedure before you start the first of Brunton’s exercises, you’re much less likely to have a “Dark Night” experience. Seven randomized controlled trials show that these techniques reduce PTSD symptoms by over 60%.

For this reason, the second preparatory step is the Personal Peace Procedure Course. Besides the guided techniques you practice there, you have access to trained and certified practitioners. They have the expertise to help you through the emotions that arise when clearing your past. These methods are so effective that people are usually able to clear a significant part of their life trauma in 30 days or less. 

Your Mentor is also there for you during the process, as is the community of “soul friends” with whom you walk the Short Path journey. The 21 meditations you’ve been practicing are also there to remind you of the ecstasy that coexists with the miserable experiences of our lives.

You’ll complete the Personal Peace Procedure in 30 days or less. You’re then unlikely to have a Dark Night experience on the Short Path. If you hit any rough patches, your mentor, the community, and certified practitioners are all there to support you.

With this second preparatory step of clearing trauma behind you, you’re ready for PBs exercises, and spiritually and psychologically prepared for the journey.

Progressing Through the Exercises and Milestones

PBs exercises begin with activities designed to remind you of the wonderful Glimpses of heaven you’ve already experienced in your life. Everyone has had these Glimpses.
Perhaps you felt a profound sense of peace while looking at a meadow full of sunflowers. Perhaps you looked into the eyes of a child, pet, or wild animal one day and found them a window into all of Creation. Perhaps you fell in love and experienced a soul-to-soul connection with your partner. Perhaps you felt the presence of the Infinite in a shrine, church, or other house of worship.
The first part of the course, reinforced by the 7 neurochemical meditations, reminds you of these Glimpses. At this stage, you’re a local self recalling your Glimpses of nonlocal reality. That’s a key milestone.
From there, the exercises guide you into invoking that nonlocal reality as a daily experience. They encourage you to cultivate a relationship with the Infinite.
Once this takes hold in your life, it increasingly penetrates your local reality. The sense of your local self being “you” begins to fall away, dissolved by the reality that you are that Nonlocal Infinite that you seek. This progression is marked by other milestones you’ll learn to recognize.
The exercises later on the path encourage you to abandon modes of being that no longer support your knowledge of who you truly are. Eventually, the local and nonlocal versions of you merge in mystical union. Your local self enjoys full union with your Higher Self and through it the whole universe. That’s another key milestone.
Stimulated by the next set of exercises, you then learn to integrate that experience in daily life.
Certain exercises are designated as “Key Exercises.” These are ones on which PB placed particular emphasis. You’ll see they often mark a discontinuity between what you’ve been doing up till that point in the Course and subsequent stages.
There are also paragraphs marked as “Insights.” These are highlights worthy of special attention. Many of PB’s insights are still startlingly relevant a century after he penned them because they contain nuggets of timeless wisdom. Other Insights come from Andrew Vidich or others with penetrating insight into the Short Path.

Exercises and Insights

The exercises in this Course aren’t laborious efforts. They are simple, quick, and easy. They are consciousness hacks, designed to flip you out of the illusion that you’re limited to your local self and into an awareness of your Nonlocal Self. The exercises are of several different types:
  1. Exercises. These are themes to incorporate into your usual meditative practice. Often they will include an affirmation to use once you have induced a deep meditative state. Some are marked as Key Exercises because they facilitate rapid progress on the Short Path and were emphasized by PB.
  2. Life Games. These are exercises you’ll do throughout the day, rather than during your morning meditation period. These usually involve reminding yourself of an affirmation such as “My life is a Dream.”
  3. Affirmations. You’ll receive a series of affirmations in the course. Sometimes you’ll work with a particular affirmation for a single day. Other times, you’ll use it for several days. You’ll need to place your affirmations where you can see them throughout the day.
  4. Journaling. You’ll keep notes in a journal throughout the Course. Get a new journal for this purpose. Don’t use an old journal, because it will represent a continuation of your old self. Make space for the version of you that is passionately connected to your Higher Self by purchasing a new journal. Write by hand in a paper journal rather than keeping a virtual journal on a mobile device. The reason for this is that writing by hand engages the brain more deeply than entering text on a screen. Below you’ll find instructions for the easy and effective “bullet journal” method.
  5. Sharing Your Reflections. Often you’re asked to summarize an insight at the end of a section. The heading will say “Sharing Your Experience” or “Reflection 1” or something similar. For example, perhaps the journaling exercise was to make a list of unhelpful thought patterns in your journal. In the “Sharing Your Experience” section, you’ll also be asked to record one of these patterns in the Learning Management System. These are usually just a sentence or two. Though they’re short, having to find the words for your experiences helps consolidate them in your neural network. If you’d like to write more, use your bullet journal.
  6. Social Sharing. You’ll also share your reflections in the online community. We call this group “the Awakeners.” You’re now taking another step in the neural reconsolidation process. Stating an insight to a group of fellow travelers engages your “prosocial” brain network, further deepening the learning process.

30. Writing by hand in a journal engages the brain more deeply than typing on a computer.

How To Journal Effectively

  1. Purchase a journal that makes you happy. There is no universal option that works for everyone. Some people prefer spiral notebooks, while others opt for moleskin journals, sketchbooks, lined paper, ruled paper, or graph paper. The key is that when you hold it in your hand it gives you a “spark of joy.” Since this is a new path of self-transcendence, a new journal is suggested. Your journal is very personal. Follow your joy!
  2. Begin your journal by titling the first few pages “Index.” In the lower right hand corner, begin numbering each page starting with “1” (including the index). This is the beginning of your organizational tracking system which will hold all of your notes, exercises, life games, affirmations, reflections, and inspirations. Whenever you start a new section of the Course, begin a new page in your journal. Number it in the lower right hand corner and add it to your index. Click here
  3. Divide each page into a predictable structure. One option is Tasks, Notes, and Insights. Click here This particular structure is not required, but it is helpful to maintain a consistent organizational system as you will be continually exposed to new ideas, concepts, and activities on this journey. Play around with the structure and find the one that works for you!
  4. Every time you complete a task (activity, exercise, life game, etc.), cross it off in your journal. If you didn’t complete it, draw a right arrow (–>) and add it to your next journal page. Every time you cross something off, take a moment to bring up an elevated emotion. These elevated emotions will create the consistent habit of making progress though the Course. Click here
  5. When inspiration hits, take out your journal and start a new page numbering the lower right hand corner and adding it to the index. This will allow for a place for your Nonlocal Self to express itself. You can go back to this page to add, edit, or revise as your ideas crystalize. Avoid the temptation to go immediately to a digital expression of your insight. Your journal is the place you get to express yourself free from the expectation of an audience.
Remember, your journal and process are personal. There is no one “right” way to track your progress. If these ideas appeal to you, much more can be found in Ryder Carroll’s wonderful book The Bullet Journal Method and the accompanying website

Methods to Remember Affirmations

It’s essential to work with each day’s affirmations frequently throughout the day. How do you remember the affirmations, in the middle of your busy life? Here are several ways you can do this:
  1. Index Cards. Writing the day’s affirmations on a series of 3×5 index cards might work well for you. You then place these in spots you’ll encounter frequently. You might put one card on your bathroom mirror, another on the dashboard of your car, one in your wallet, one on the door of your refrigerator, one on your desk, and tape another to your computer monitor. Sticky notes can be used instead.
  2. Screen Saver. Make that day’s affirmation the screensaver on your phone, laptop, desktop computer, and wireless mobile device.
  3. Card and Badge Holder. I recommend you purchase a card and badge holder at the start of the course. These are lightweight and hang around your neck on a lanyard. They place your affirmations at your fingertips wherever you happen to be.
The Course will talk often about your “card” or “affirmation card.” Whatever form you’ve chosen, use it as a device for frequent attention to that day’s affirmation.

31. Badge holder

How Long Will This Course Take?

In the Course, you move through the 36 milestones of the Short Path at a varying pace. You might move through three in a day. You might spend weeks at a single milestone. Respect your personal pace, because you’re walking the path in partnership with your Higher Self.
The goal of this Short Path Course is to get you to the Sufi station of “rebirth” in the Beloved. At that point you have a persistent experience of oneness with your Higher Self. You’re living in the palace, enjoying the infinite riches with which you were born. You’ve awakened to your identity as Nonlocal Self. From that point on, your High Self directs your journey. While you may still meditate and do many of the practices you’ve done before, you do so for pleasure and focus rather than necessity.
While earlier authors described exalted states of consciousness like rebirth, one of PB’s great insights was that these transformations could be catalyzed by specific exercises. The reason I created this Course was to systematize these teachings, the ancient ideas on which they are based, and the acceleration of the process made possible by modern neuroscience. When you practice these exercises, you move quickly into the rebirth stage.
Six to nine months is a reasonable time frame in which to complete the basic exercises in the Course. At that point, you’re likely to have experienced rebirth in your Nonlocal Self. We’ve found that people going through the course don’t like to hurry. Goal-oriented striving has been part of their previous experience, but once they start the Course they slow down. They savor the delicious states they’re now enjoying. Some zip through in a few weeks, others take more than a year. Notice and respect your unique pace.

Moving at a steady pace, spending 30 minutes a day, you can move through the course in eight weeks, as follows:

  • Before Starting: Mentor meeting 1. 
  • Month 1: The 7 meditations. Retreat 1, Anamchara meeting. Mentor meeting 2.
  • Month 2: The Personal Peace Procedure, Milestones 1-3, and Mentor Meeting 3.
  • Month 3: Milestones 4-8, and Mentor Meeting 4.
  • Month 4: Milestones 9-10, and Mentor Meeting 5. 
  • Month 5: Milestones 11-16, Retreat 2, and Mentor Meeting 6.
  • Month 6: Milestones 17-22, and Mentor Meeting 7.
  • Month 7: Milestones 23-32, and Mentor Meeting 8.
  • Month 8: Milestones 33-36, and Mentor Meeting 9.
  • Month 9: Course completion.
This is just a guide; it’s important to honor your personal pace. If it takes 10 months or longer, no problem, as long as you keep your commitment to 30 minutes of practice a day. Milestone 27 is a mini-retreat at which you integrate everything you’ve learned up to that point.
At Milestone 28, you move from Seeker to Sage, reborn in your Higher Self. At that point, PB instructs you to abandon all exercises and turn the process over entirely to your Higher Self. There are thus no exercises in the final part of the Course. The process is guided by your Nonlocal Self through the final group of Milestones (28-36).

Insight: You Won’t Start at the Beginning

The fact that you enrolled in this Course indicates that you’ve already advanced on the path. There is no need to repeat milestones you’ve already passed. Just mark them “complete” until you reach the edge of your growth and understanding and start this Course from that point.
Andrew Vidich points out that “nothing about this journey is actually linear, for time itself is part of the illusion” (Vidich, 2015, p. 151). So just move ahead to the growing edge of your understanding, and go from there.

Morning Practice

Do the exercises first thing in the morning, before you start your day. Brush your teeth and grab a cup of coffee first if you want, but turn your attention to the path before you check your email or messages. This is essential to success.
The recent science of “chronobiology” studies the relationship of biology, especially gene expression, to time. Our cells contain “clock genes” activated at certain times of day. Enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and other chemicals rise and fall in predictable rhythms. Cortisol is a stress hormone, harmful when chronically high. At normal levels, however, it’s your “get up and go” hormone. It’s highest in the morning, after which it drops throughout the day.

32. The structure of the cortisol and DHEA molecules is very similar.

The brains of most people function at peak in the morning (there is a class of people that scientists call “owls” who have a nocturnal peak, but they’re a small minority). For this reason, the morning is when you’ll want to inhabit your identity as your Higher Self and frame your day through that lens.
By making the morning your practice time, you shape your consciousness for happiness, creativity, and resilience first thing, before the challenges of the day begin. This gives you the positive mindset required to meet them. Jeffery Martin observes that “Finders” are such an enormous magnitude happier than the general population that ordinary people cannot even imagine being that joyful. Start your day that way.

33. A man is upset by what he is seeing on his phone.

A morning practice also inoculates you from the bad news and negative thinking prevalent in our culture. Meditating and doing these exercises in the morning makes your wellbeing and spiritual growth your first priority. It’s a statement of intent as well as making good use of your brain’s peak period. So schedule 30 minutes every morning for this Course.

Calendar Your Practice

Experience has shown that participants are most successful when they schedule these 30-minute periods at the very start of the Course. So please enter this time in your online or physical calendar now. Calendar programs have a feature for recurring events; make your 30-minute morning study and meditation period a daily event.
Even if you have to skip one or two scheduled sessions as “life happens,” having them on your schedule signals your commitment to unlocking the full benefit of this Course.


The Course pairs you with a Mentor. A Mentor is someone who’s gone through the Course and received additional training in how to assist you. The reason that the Course uses a mentorship model is that it greatly increases your chance of success.
Other paths use mentorship in various ways. Buddhism regards the “sangha,” the community of practice, as one of the three essentials keeping the practitioner on track (the other two are the “dharma” or teaching and the Buddha himself).
Judith Blackstone, in The Enlightenment Process, emphasizes that self-help can take us only so far. The assistance of a qualified Mentor unlocks the full benefit of the types of exercises recommended by the Masters (Blackstone, 2008, p. xix). Jeffery Martin’s Finders Course uses Facebook groups in which students can connect and encourage each other, while his advanced courses provide personal mentorship. In The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Carl McColman says that “personal mentoring … is a valuable and perhaps essential component of the contemplative life” (Colement, 2010, p. 125).

Soul Friends

Such a Mentor can be an expert, or a heart-centered peer. McColman observes that “spiritual friendship, regardless of how casual and informal it may be, can be just as valuable as a more formal mentoring or guidance relationship” (McColman, 2010, p. 155). He tells us that the Celtic Christian tradition even had a special word for this profound type of relationship: anamchara which means “soul friend.”
The conversations you have with a soul friend are different from ordinary conversations. You can dive deeply into your inner experiences. These conversations are a place where you can share at a level that ordinary friendships don’t usually facilitate.
In Bliss Brain I share the results of several large-scale surveys of transcendent experiences. It turns out that virtually everyone has them, and they often start in childhood. But a surprising finding is that people don’t talk about them with others. They don’t even share them with their spouses or other family members. There’s just no opening in most conventional interactions to discuss the most profound aspects of life.
That makes Mentors and soul friends so valuable. Conversation with them gives you a place to work through the challenges and opportunities of the Quest. You’re not walking the path alone.
So this Course is designed to connect you with an anamchara, as well as being guided by your Mentor. Both will encourage and advance you on the journey.
Because of the value of the mentorship model, you will connect with your Mentor early in this Short Path Course and communicate with him or her regularly.
There are several ways in which having a Mentor helps you :
  1. Providing perspective. Having the perspective of a person who’s already completed the course gives you an overview of the journey. There will be many vivid experiences along the way and your Mentor can help you place these within the overall perspective of the entire Quest.
  2. Debriefing. You’re going to be experiencing altered states of consciousness in the days and weeks ahead. Some of them are disorienting, bewildering, perplexing, and counterintuitive. Nothing in our culture or educational system has prepared us for these altered states. Having a Mentor who has navigated the Quest ahead of you and has had similar experiences gives you a fellow traveler to share with.
  3. Helping when you’re stuck. You are likely to breeze through many parts of this Course—until you don’t. When you get stuck, your Mentor can offer encouragement, perspective, and insight.
  4. Support through possible dark night experiences. Neuroscientists who’ve hooked thousands of people up to EEGs while they meditate and acquire transcendent states have learned a great deal about the awakening process. Several of my colleagues and I believe that the dark night experiences reported by PB and others are usually the result of unhealed psychological trauma. That is why the Personal Peace Procedure course is a prerequisite for this one. It will have resolved a certain amount of trauma and given you the tools to heal further. We believe this makes it unlikely that you will have a dark night experience. However, in case you do, your Mentor is there for you.
  5. Providing structure. You’ll talk to your mentor regularly. During each session, you’ll define goals you’ll pursue, such as “Completing up through Journaling 6: Inventory of Desired Behaviors and Habits” by the time of the next meeting. You and your mentor will set a date for the goal and the meeting. This provides you with structure and accountability.
Your Mentor is not your guru, therapist, coach, Spiritual Master, or New Best Friend. It’s a professional relationship carefully structured to support you through the Course. You’ll meet with your Mentor at designated milestones, and if you need immediate assistance between these, your Mentor is available to you.
Your Mentor has access to the back end of the Learning Management System. There, your Mentor can see just how far along you are and read the Summary Reflections you have written there. Assume as you are writing these that you are sharing your thoughts with your Mentor.

Insight: Moving Back and Forth Between Milestones

PB observed that Seekers can reach one milestone and then backtrack to an earlier one. Sages at an advanced stage often revisit earlier milestones and practices. In his book The Finders, Jeffery Martin notes that Finders reach certain levels of consciousness that he calls “Locations,” but can move both forward and backward within them (Martin, 2019).
For instance, in Location 3, Finders have a single dominant positive meta-emotion, and a non-personal experience. In Location 4, they experience themselves and everything else as an effortless flow. They have no sense of being actors in the play, or the ability to make decisions. They have little or no emotion. This resembles PBs milestone 27: Being Consciousness Detached from Thought.
But there’s a fork in the road. They may return to active participation in the everyday world, as PB describes in milestone 32: The Return to Duality—Living Fully in the Body. Or they may choose a life of selfless service.
Andrew Harvey, in his book The Direct Path, describes this experience: “The journey back is like a series of ever-larger concentric circles, all dwelling, or ‘nesting,’ within each other” (Harvey, 2000, p. 43).
So if you find yourself at one milestone and then later find yourself revisiting an earlier one, this is not a sign of going backward on the path.
Likewise, near the start of the Quest you may have transcendent experiences characteristic of milestones at the end. You may be there for a short while, then return to earlier milestones.
Milestones are not linear markers of progress, so practice complete acceptance of where you are as you move back and forth between them.

Capitalization of Key Words

Key words used in the Course are capitalized, such as Higher Self, Glimpse, and even “Course” itself. This breaks with conventional English styles. The reason for this unconventional approach is that I want to draw your attention to the structure inherent in the course.
Most of the words capitalized are words that PB capitalized. They are used in a very specific way. For instance, the Seeker isn’t just seeking any old thing, as a random seeker might. A Seeker is one who is seeking the source of being. This choice is a self-initiation. Capitalized “Seeker” then becomes a title to designate a specific status, like “candidate” or “fiancee.”
The unusual capitalization might seem weird at first, but flow with it and it will become intuitive in time.

Joy Is Your Guide

There’s a lot of seriousness around spirituality. People on the path wonder if they’re “getting it right.” Some religions insist that theirs is the only right way and that others are damned to hell. Many of the initiations of traditional spiritual paths are solemn occasions, full of ponderous ritual. Reading PB, you often feel that you’re sitting at the feet of a stern school teacher.
This Course isn’t like that at all. It isn’t a ponderous, heavy endeavor! It’s meant to be a light-hearted frolick through the landscape of consciousness. You can’t fail, and there is no possible way of getting it wrong! Laughter and play is a sign of progress, not an indicator of a lack of seriousness about your spiritual progress. You’re being guided to the ultimate reality by your Higher Self, so relax and have fun on the journey.

34. A light emotional tone

Remember a time you spent with friends, having fun. A time you were laughing and playing around. You’d forgotten all your problems and were having a spontaneously good time. You felt great, and your brain was in a “flow” state. That’s what I mean by a “light” emotional tone.
Now recall a thought that fills you with dread. It might have been a terrible trauma in your past. It might be an imaginary disaster in your future. That’s a “heavy” emotional tone.
I remember sitting on the hard wooden pew of a church when I was around 4 years old. From the pulpit high above, the preacher thundered about the Day of Judgment. He painted a vivid verbal picture of the lake of fire into which sinners were condemned for all eternity. Hellfire and damnation. I recall the feeling of dread that filled my body.
Unfortunately, that’s the emotional tone that many people associate with spirituality. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the jealous, patriarchal, genocidal, judgmental, uncompromising, authoritarian and punishing God of the Old Testament is children’s first introduction to the deity.

35. A heavy emotional tone

A similar heavy emotional tone is often found in Eastern traditions. While there’s no lake of fire, there’s a wheel of karma that takes thousands of lifetimes to unravel. We worship a handful of enlightened saints, while the rest of us are trapped in “Maya,” the world of illusion. Enlightenment is so rare that it’s attained by only a few especially virtuous Masters. Even then, it’s at the end of a Long Path of suffering and denial. A discouraging picture!
In reality, joy is the way. Your Higher Self guides you through bliss and laughter. Follow the path with that light emotional tone. That feeling of heaviness is a weight you’re being guided to release.
I’ve designed the Course to make the teachings light and fun for you. They’re sequential and easy to follow. This knowledge was previously scattered throughout Paul Brunton’s dozens of books, which in turn reflected the collected wisdom of thousands of years and thousands of scrolls of scripture.
Now, all you do is follow along with simple exercises and tips. The ponderous complexity of traditional paths has been eliminated. Brunton emphasizes that, on the Short Path, you’re guided by your Higher Power, and it’s a path of pure joy. Believe it, lighten up, let’s play together!

Insight: Differences Between Short Path and Long Path

Long Path Short Path Page numbers in SPE
Does exercises for results Does exercises for their own sake 79-81
You worry about the bad in you and the world You smile at the good 49
Prepares you for the Short Path After you’ve journeyed on the Long Path for a while 33
Equips you with strength required for the Short Path Once you’ve developed strength on the Long Path 45
Cleansing of consciousness Clarity of focus 33
Thinking of, remembering, meditating upon yourself Thinking, remembrance of reality, and meditation without reference to the ego 17
Removes negative thought, base desire, ego, and other obstacles to Higher Self and Short Path When the ego is no longer in the way, you are ready for the Short Path 34, 40
Disciplines thought and feeling Intellect inspired by meditation 35, 41
Measures by how far you have advanced Living in the now is what flips the switch from the Long Path to the Short Path; cease to wish to advance 38, 43
Effort of disentanglement, thus a negative attainment Recognizes that success does not come through your own efforts or traits 39
Beginners are not ready to confront the unreality of the local self You turn your back on improving the ego and give your full attention to the Short Path 41
You forcibly control undesirable feelings and thoughts as you cleanse ego You lose interest in them, deserting ego 43
Happiness eludes almost everyone, despite seeking! Bypasses seeking and goes directly to the Higher Self 44
Better to remedy faults than allow them, fight desires Forget them, as you immerse yourself in Higher Self 44, 45
Seeking desperately for truth and insight Holding yourself in peace and patience 45
Develop capacity to find inner Stillness Knowledge that Stillness is you, and continually practice being the Stillness 47
Arranged in stages Direct enlightenment 47
Clearing obstructions and character errors Devoted to affirmatives 47
Future illumination llumination here and now 47
Engaged in world Retreat from world; requires solitude and leisure 47
Earth Path: yearning, anxious, serious Sun Path: spontaneity, enjoyment of life 48
Apprenticeship Development occurs naturally; Grace draws you to the next stage, no effort required 31-32
Guru and religions; like stars in the sky, they come and go Attach to Higher Self; the Universe is the sky, eternal 27

SPE: The Short Path to Enlightenment: Instructions for Immediate Awakening, by Paul Brunton

Getting Around the Learning Management System

The materials for this Course, as in top college courses online, are presented in this state-of-the-art Learning Management System or LMS. Each chapter is called a “Lesson.” Each section of the Course within a Lesson is called a “Topic.”
You’ll see a button called “Mark Complete” at the end of most Topics. When you’ve read the text and watched the videos for that Topic, click the button and the next Topic will automatically open for you.
There’s a second way in which you’ll move from Topic to Topic. When you’re asked to share a reflection or experience, you’ll enter text into a box. When you’re done, choose “Post Comment.”
You can’t advance through the course without first either selecting “Mark Complete” or “Post Comment” or completing the “Reflection” question.
On the navigation bar, you’ll find links to each Topic. You’ll see the Topics you’ve completed in a color that is different from those you have not yet completed.
I’ll also send you an email every so often pointing out features of the course that you might find especially helpful.
Important Action Item Right Now: Please add my email address to your list of trusted contacts in your email system. Here are the instructions for the most common email services.
If you don’t see emails from in your inbox, check your spam folder. If you find one of my emails there, drag it into your inbox. That’s often enough to convince your email program that I’m a trusted contact.
Bookmark the Log-In Page Now: Please bookmark the home page where you log in. Keep a record of your username and password. You need to log in to get access to the course, and it’s annoying to be unable to log in because you’ve lost your password or username. Adjust your browser settings so that they autofill your username and password on the log-in page.
If you have more than one email address, note the address you used to register for the course. Obviously, the system will not recognize you if you try to log in using a different email address.
Always log in first. If you click on a saved, cached, or bookmarked page without logging in, you will receive an error message, so always log in first.
If you run into problems, such as getting an audio or video to play, or a lost password, you can find the solutions on our “Help“ page, including customer service.

Gratitude and Moving Ahead

Practicing PB’s exercises, informed by neuroscience, resulted in rapid progress for me. Every week, I found myself changing. New insights, such as the way our brains can rewire when we anchor ourselves in our Higher Self before sleep, popped into my head regularly. I soon found myself becoming more patient and loving. My days were consistently happy, no matter what was happening around me or in the world.
During 2020, the year that I wrote this Course, the world went through many tough challenges—the COVID pandemic, the economic crash, the race riots, the invasion of the US Capitol, the attempts to overturn the US election results, and many other upheavals. I experienced them all, but from a center rooted in the calm consistency of unshakeable wellbeing.
I look forward to your sense of wellbeing, rooted in the love of the infinite universe, being equally unshakable. During the Course you’ll be journaling regularly, and when you review your entries later, you’ll likely be surprised at how quickly you’re changing. You might see issues you’ve struggled with for years softening or even dissolving.
You’re now complete with this introduction to the Course. Chapter 1 and 2 contain the only long videos and explanations in the entire Course. From now on, it’s all practice, and the Topics are brief. Mark this one complete, and I’ll see you in the next one early tomorrow morning!
With infinite love,

36. Entering Bliss Brain

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