Ray: Where do we go astray? How do we start down the path of living in thoughts and illusions rather than pure joy?
Katie: It’s like this, to take a simple example: Your mother says, “That’s a tree.” And you’re a little kid, you don’t have a reference for it; for you, the whole world is one unseparated reality. And then she says again, “Honey, it’s a tree.” You still don’t have a reference for it, but eventually you hear it enough times and from enough people that there is a moment when you believe it. And it’s separated out the moment you believe. You actually see a tree.
What are you believing? It seems benign to think, “There’s a tree.” It seems to be a beautiful thought. But the moment you believed that there was a tree, there was the thought I—there was a you believing that there was a tree. And in that same moment, there was a mother teaching you, “There’s a tree.” There was a whole world of separate things, rather than the reality of what is.
And, really, your mother didn’t teach you, “It’s a tree.” You taught yourself, the moment you believed.
The world you live in is 100 percent your own responsibility. If you don’t like your world, it doesn’t work to say, “Well, it’s my mother’s fault. She taught me how to think.” No. The moment you believed what she was saying was the moment your suffering began. And it’s not just “mother”—it’s everyone and everything around us. It’s the dream—the dream world.
My mother became a believer, and then I became a believer. But when I was 43 years old, I began to think for myself, somehow—by fluke and by grace. And I thought, “Oh, my, I was so mistaken. The world isn’t what I believed it to be. I am not what I believed me to be, and neither is anyone.” So now I live in a state of grace, where I don’t have to know.