Teaching Cards Gift From Donna Lancaster

Long ago (1975 to be exact) when I started in the teachings with the 48 tapes I was intrigued with the ideas presented. I was in so much conflict at the time that all I could hear was the examples and parables. It seemed when a teaching idea passed by that I heard it — and then it was gone because there is so much material to hear and work with on each individual tape.

So after all these years, I learned that our beloved Donna Lancaster went through many of the workshops now on the website and extracted teachings ideas one at a time. She then put them on pages that could be printed as cards. (There are approximately 400 of them on 47 pages.) I printed them on CardStock and cut them apart with a paper cutter.

This enables one to gather them in a bowl and then each day, week or month depending, pull out an idea and work with it. I find I can’t remember a paragraph; and I even struggle with memorizing one sentence. The creative mind in me adds words, subtracts words, changes words  and often the meaning and possibility of discovery disappears.

So, dear Donna, we still miss you and thank you for your dedicated and devoted work, which I and others are passing on to those who ask, are interested and find it through all of us who value what has been gifted to us!

Here is a link to the PDF file.


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Who is the Teacher?

Long ago Delilah, a tabby cat, came into my life. Facing diminishing sight from retinitis pigmentosa, I was worried about sitting or stepping on her because she was very dark. But she adapted to the danger after a couple of times of almost being squished. She learned to meow when I came into the room. I remember once when I had pink eye, she comforted me by curling by my side. It seemed she knew I was in distress. At 14 years she passed away. After her, I knew I would always need a cat in my life.

A friend of mine shared that she gets too attached to pets, so to be “safe” she refuses to get another. At 83, she said the loss is just too painful and not worth it. There is an old saying that says, ”It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” It’s for sure I’m not going to get through this life without some pain – whether physical, mental, or emotional. So I have decided to always have a cat whether it’s painful or not. There is a Teaching idea that I use frequently and that is to be “free to experience” whatever is going on because everything “comes to pass”. It’s worthwhile when I measure the pain against the many hours of joy I have with these cats.

At the humane society I began looking for a white cat that would be easier to see. In opening one cage, Bella, a white cat, started loving on me; and, of course, she became our second cat. I discovered that cats are like humans, each has it’s own special personality that unfolds as we get to know them. One of Bella’s games occurred around 3:00 am. I’d wake and hear Bella playing with a little cloth mouse, which after a time she’d bring to the bedroom, meowing. I finally figured out that it was her gift. And then she would jump up on the bed and sleep with me for the rest of the night. When I groomed her thick fur, she had the look of ecstasy on her face while rolling over for me to get every part of her body. I had never experienced connection with an animal to that degree.

I had taken on the suggestions from people who believed that cats were just “dumb animals.” Then one day I stumbled across a book called “Kinship with all Life” by J. Allen Boone and it opened my mind to see more about all of creation. It is wonderful to speculate that we all are connected – humans, animals and plants. To me, all animals are special – at least the ones I’ve come to know. It’s only at this age in my life that I want to learn to communicate with my cat, or horse or dog that I come in contact with. This book pointed out that I am not superior. Only as I’m humble, can I hear and communicate with these precious creatures – hence they have become my teachers.

I’ve seen my cats look into my eyes when I’m talking to them. Do they understand my words? That’s in my “I don’t know department.” Communication with animals is an ongoing experiment.

Another friend has a ranch where she gives lessons, boards horses, and does therapy riding. During my riding lesson she shared with me to look where I wanted to go, not at the saddle, horn, or reins. She said that the horse uses pictures in the mind for communication. I’ve experienced this at times when thinking about my cat brings her to my side for loving. We have such a privilege to be with these amazing creatures. They deserve our understanding, generosity, and kindness and always give back.

Bella had a heart condition we were not aware of and she passed away six months later. So, back I went to the humane society.  There was a beautiful cat named Myra. She came out from her little hide-a-way and licked my hand. The caretakers said she had never done that with anybody else and I thought, this is “the cat”. I associated “now” with “then” when I had previously chosen Bella. But as with humans, all are not alike and “now” is never like “then.” Each moment is completely different from the last. I will never know Myra’s past; but it didn’t work out for us. No matter what I did, I couldn’t connect with her and I refused to force her to let me love on her. I felt ignored and rejected and finally realized I had to face facts – with my blindness, I couldn’t be a therapist or cat whisperer, I needed a therapy cat – one that would be very affectionate. So I gave the wellbeing of Myra back to the humane society.

I had set many “ideals” for the cat I thought would fulfill my needs. Most times we don’t even recognize that we have so many “ought to be’s.” The cat had to be a female, between three and six years old, and multicolored. White parts could be seen when the cat was on a dark colored surface and the black parts showed up on a white surface.

From Myra, I learned that in picking a cat I needed to be able to pick it up and hear it purr – not hiss and lash out. It was the next step in tweaking my list and the best I could do for choosing. I don’t fit with all the humans I meet, and there is an inner feeling that lets me know which ones I want to know better. It works sometimes and doesn’t work on others. So perhaps all the senses need to be in the now and working – sight, hearing, touching, awareness and also inner feeling. What a lesson for so many things we do in our daily lives.

School Talk #25 discusses “Making up the Mind” – and there is another “Excerpt” called the “The What and the How”. I have experimented with both of those ideas by myself, with my daughter, and with my musical partner – it’s always interesting. I wrote down specifically what I wanted. Of first priority was a cat that needed lots of attention, leaving off the “ideal” of female and three years old

But after two trips weekly to the humane society, I finally realized I was afraid of making a mistake. There is a Teaching idea that we’ve never made a mistake because every decision we’ve made – at the time it was felt to be right, or proper and/or justified. But another discovery for me was that each “mistake” points me in a new direction that is more to my advantage.

After a month of these trips to the humane society, I saw this colorful cat (white and gray) tearing up the paper in his cage. I concluded he’s not for me! I wanted another Bella. I had made another “ideal”.

Next week I saw him again. Oh no! – he’s a male, he’s only one year old. But I remembered that I wanted to leave off the “ideal” of a Bella. Outside the cage, I could hold him and he was purring. It was time to take a chance again.

I brought him home. Is he too young? Yes, according to what “ought to be.” Was he Bella? No! Is that what we lay on every living human being we know? Do we unconsciously foist off conclusions we have about people we meet because they look like someone we did or didn’t like in the past? We’re all so different. I have discovered that I learn about myself from everyone I meet. I’ve discovered that each person in my life brings out a different personality in me. If I’m with a musician, I become music. If I’m with a fun person, I automatically bring out the silly, creative, happy one inside.

So, here I go. I finally made a decision to take him home. I discovered quickly that he wasn’t shy like Myra and was out exploring the house in thirty minutes. Yes, he has way more energy than I thought would be advisable; however, staying at the computer too long makes my eyes foggy and unresponsive. So playing with him in the morning and throughout the day breaks that hypnotized habit. Being sequestered for a year, I find I need activity more than being sedentary. He certainly provides action. Ha! So “we think we know what we need” and Life seems to know better what I need then all my little mental “ideals.”

I changed his name from “Rocko” to “Jazz,” since I don’t play very much rock. When we’re not playing, he follows me from room to room and helps me with all my tasks. He is a character, just like all the previous cats and humans I have ever known or know now – each has something to share and teach me, whether pleasant or not. Would you like for EVERYTHING to be pleasant and JUST THE WAY YOU WANT IT? Hmm. Ponder that one.

It’s time to go see what Jazz is doing because he is making some noise and I want to be part of it.  Thank you, Jazz, for gracing my existence. 

So, who’s the Teacher and what is Jazz teaching me?

  • He is a reason to get out of bed.
  • He radiates enthusiasm for life over the simplest of things – a box, a string with a feather at the end, something that wasn’t there before, a new person coming through the front door, watching birds in the front yard, feeling the breeze from an open window.
  • He sleeps with me and I know when I wake up through the night that he is there. When I touch him I feel warmth and hear purring.
  • He takes me away from media because he’s really more entertaining. He crouches and I say, “Get ready, get set GO!” Then he pounces, jumps in the air, turns half somersaults, falls, rolls to an upside down position and uses all fours attacking the mouse; and I giggle and laugh at his antics. In other words, he brings me back to the joy of the physical world.
  • He reminds me to be curious about everything and everybody and teaches me to remember that all life, all people, and all situations are to be enjoyed.
  • He can sneeze, and doesn’t have the fear of Covid. He just sneezes and doesn’t make it important.
  • He doesn’t judge my weight or my age.
  • He is a great listener and I get to express everything I need to say out loud without censure. I don’t have to apologize to anyone because I gave expression to some inner secret or some disappointment, anger or guilt.
  • I get exercise getting up and down from the floor, which I would not do ordinarily.
  • He reminds me that life is fun – not all the serious stuff we’re drawn into by news, the warnings of doom and gloom. He doesn’t care, he lives in the moment – no past, no future, just NOW.
  • To stop and pet him and listen to the purr affords me a quiet mind – something quite rare.
  • He is a wonderful companion, filling many hours which used to feel unfulfilled – now there’s laughter, affection, and joy.

I’m ever thankful to have him in my life and for our spirits to be connected.

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Self-image Origin

Did you ever wonder how your self-image came about?  Did you ever wonder where you got it?

I’ve had a lot of time to think about self-image during the pandemic with being sequestered and not having contact with people and the world outside the home. I had to find ways of using so many days alone. Learning from the teaching that vital interest was an advantageous state of being, I centered my days around cooking new recipes, exercising, learning difficult songs, and transcribing Dr. Bob’s workshops on the computer. I tried to keep my mind busy. If I didn’t, I would get in a “down” mood because of boredom and what I saw myself as missing the fulfillment I get from playing for audiences, especially in the nursing homes.  I’ve discovered it feels better to have the attention directed outward rather than on myself.  Doing something creative uses the mind in a healthy way.

While watching Byron Katie’s program each day, I’ve seen many young people with a poor self- image that was an obstacle to feeling independent, capable, and in charge of their choices in life.

I, too, find myself “in and out” of feeling inferior. One method of creating this “up and down” syndrome is to compare myself to others. Mostly I compare the qualities “they have” that I like and don’t see myself as having. I’m less likely to see myself as superior to what I can do that they can’t.

Another find for this self-image issue was when I was in school. My papers came back filled with red pencil marks blaring out all my mistakes.

I have often felt that “looking down on myself” came from all my father’s criticism while I was growing up – therefore blaming him so I didn’t have to be responsible for how I see myself. Through the years, I realized he was only projecting on me how he felt about himself.

We are conditioned. Dr. Bob gave us another hint of where to look so that we could see the truth of the matter and transcend beyond.

The teachings reveal the four great games which you can find on the website; but I’m going to approach it from the results – when we sometimes feel “ugly, abnormal, bad, and out.”

Those labels are so subtle that we don’t even realize it’s going on within us.  There is a link at the bottom of this document that goes into a little more detail about those games, though most of us don’t look at them as games.

The suggestion of feeling “ugly” arises from advertising and big business. We need to have the “latest” in clothes, homes, cars and whatever is being sold. This costs us a lot of money to keep up appearances and feel good about ourselves.

The suggestion of feeling “abnormal” comes from the Medical Arts. They have standards for everything having to do with the body – Dr. Bob mentioned when he began college for the healing arts that they studied what was “normal” for quite a long time. He realized that each body is different and doesn’t fit the “norm.” Therefore, everyone is a patient, because they don’t fit the “standard.”

The suggestion of feeling “bad” comes from Theology. It sets ideals of how we should think and act, which is impossible to attain. Even if we do attain an ideal for a short time, challenges come along, and we fall short of what we’ve tried to be and do.

The suggestion of feeling “out” comes from Power Policies. I have a friend who was really into politics. He had five children, so he put flags on the wall telling his children who to hate and who to love. Of course, that all changes through wars and who is in power.

Then there is another source for the poor self-image. If you check out School Talk #35  entitled “I” (awareness) on the website, Dr. Bob talks about being a child and being told “No!” to everything we want to do. With everything out of reach, we toddled around seeing only butts because we were little.

You see, “one of a kind things” become very priceless in the collector’s market.  You can’t get enough money to pay for it.  So every one of us is priceless — there’s just not enough money to buy us.  Would you be for sale for any price?

We’ve all been exposed to these misconceptions. If you can begin to see these suggestions of being “bad, ugly, abnormal and out” as a fallacy, you have given yourself a great gift. 

[My afterthought: As I was reading and writing about being a unique work of art, I thought about the people and animals I’ve known and loved through the years. When they have died or passed away, I can readily see that there was no other person or creature that could have been so valuable to my spiritual, physical, and mental well-being. By the way, those who I didn’t like and consequently judged were also part of this “Life school” we’re all in. Everyone is or was a unique work of art.  So maybe I can remember that I am, too. I want to drop the poor self-image of worthlessness and begin to see value in what I can do and how I feel about myself.

See also https://www.marshasummers.com/innerman/selfimage.htm]

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Initiative Resistance or Passive Form and Result

Initiative, (resistance can be passive or active and is called second force), form, and result

[From Marsha….It can be a challenge to see the above form in all things, but certainly worthwhile to observe so that we see the fallacy of cause and effect. Most look for the cause, blame it, and have not had the opportunity to delve deeper into what’s really going on. While transcribing through the years, I found this description given by Dr. Bob. Unfortunately at the time I was not indicating what tape it was coming from. Nevertheless, the description is applicable to events of the present time, place and circumstance. The tape begins with a question from the audience.]


(I’m having difficulties with the four elements of the cause and effect that we don’t see and finding the other two?)

That’s the initiative, passive, the form and the result.  This is in the study and hard for many people to always see.  They say if you can see these four in all things, there is no mysteries left.  Well, obviously you’re not going to see them everywhere you look right off the bat — but again, if you are observant and keep at it you’ll see more and more… 

(For instance, the result is a race riot, ok.  I can see that.  They all have different causes.)

An adaptation is going on.  Before that there was all sorts of people all wound up full of energy to be nervous.  Before that they had to have a feeling of emergency that they weren’t being treated well — and that they were the victims of circumstances and so on.  Before that, there had to be a misconception as to “rights”.  Now do you want to follow it around? 

You take any group of people and tell them that they have “rights” and that their “rights” have been denied by something or someone; and you get them in a state of emergency.  Then you keep that up a little bit by encouraging that they do something about this.  Next you get them all up into chemical imbalance and neuromuscular highly agitated state; and then say, “Tear that place down over there because they are the ones that are keeping us having what we want.”  And you watch that whole building get knocked over there.  There’s a cycle there.

(What would be the initiative and the passive?)

First off was the initiative — that was the misconception or suggestion that they are mistreated.  The passive was the person who was sitting there waiting without critical observation of the “mistreatment” suggestion given to them.  You see, most people are very receptive to suggestion if you tell them they have been mistreated; and that they should look after themselves — you have a very passive audience right there. 

If you say to this passive audience, “You are responsible for yourself and everything in your circumstance.” now you will have a most antagonistic audience.  They don’t hear you at all. 

But if you say, you are the most wonderful people in the world; and you’re downtrodden because these people at one time or another took all your rights away from you; but if you are in the force of power it will bring your rights back to you; and you got an audience that will listen to you day and night.

(They get high on it?)

Oh yes.  But if you walk out there and say, “Look everything you’re doing, whatever you’re experiencing is a balance — you are responsible.  If you don’t like this, change what you’re doing — change your attitude/action; and you could begin to bring about an entirely different situation.

(But in the case of a riot, what is the form?)

The form is the crowd, the number of people. And, of course, the result is the riot.

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Appreciating Others

[From Marsha:  Perhaps during this covid time where so many are sequestered, including self, we can read Dr. Bob’s words about a different way to see those we’re fortunate enough to be around. Read on…]

Now let’s take it that there was only two people left when this big explosion went off — just any one of us and any one of the others, it wouldn’t matter. I would sure take care of you. I would find out what is meant by the word love. I wouldn’t be thinking of you as a sex object. I’d be thinking of you as the biggest necessity to me in the world. And I wouldn’t try to exploit you, use you, abuse you, or steal anything from you or anything of the sort because you are absolutely essential to me. That right? And I would take so good care of you. I’d see that you were sheltered. I’d see that you were warm. I’d do everything I possibly could. You’d do likewise, wouldn’t you? And wouldn’t anybody have to tell us to do so.

It wouldn’t be because I “should or ought to”, or that it’s a must, or I was worried that you wouldn’t like me. It wouldn’t be anything of the sort. I’d be doing it because I really want to in no uncertain terms.

Now if you stop to look a moment, we’re always in that shape. At any one moment there’s only one other person beside me, that’s you. Now if I should ever get down to seeing that is what it’s all about — as though there was not another person on the earth except you – I’d sure want to take good care of you. It would be what I wanted to do in no uncertain terms, right?

And then I would know what the meaning of love means as we’re using it now — it’s beyond agape,  it’s beyond eros, it’s beyond pia, it includes all those. And it’s beyond philia. Now it is an absolute essential, huh?

Now if I could have in all my desiring and willing, that view of every other human being, would you ever have any reason to be afraid of me? Would you ever have any reason to be jealous of me? Would you ever have any reason to hate me? Would you have any reason to have a fight with me on any occasion? We’ve gotten rid of all the little insignificant things now and got it down to the brass tacks. There’s only two of us left on the face of the earth. And I sure am going to know what the word love means. I don’t know a word for that one–I know words for the other four. Don’t have a word for that one, how about you?

(Not any word with meaning.)

No word has any meaning, but we’d sure know what it was, is that right? Now that is the kind of love that the great teacher tried to get across to us. If we could see that, we could then feel ourselves extremely lucky.

Now we’ll say when the big explosion went off, one was quite a long distance from the other. When you finally found the other one alive, you’d sure consider yourself extremely lucky at that moment.

So there is another round; and we do experience that amount of luck, you might say. Now when we could express that in a thousand ways, would you ever have any consideration that I would be picking on you, that I would steal your food — I’d do without to feed you. You would then know the meaning of “love the other guy as you do yourself”. That would get right down to it.

[From Marsha – Happy practicing……]

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The story of Jealousy and Bernice

Long ago in my life, I always wanted to play in a big band.  Loving music, I wanted to do everything I saw anybody do in music, whether it was dancing, singing, playing an instrument, acting – you name it.

It came to pass that a big band guitar player happened to call and ask if I would like to play with the Moonlighters Big Band. I thought, “Oh, I couldn’t do that. I don’t have a college education.” But I jumped in anyway.

There are so many lessons I learned – I say Life Lessons in having taken that leap — but I’m here to share this one.

The family I grew up in was very affectionate with hugs and kisses, always saying good night, good morning, and I love you. We were interested in each other – and close.

When I began with the band, there were 17 men and one woman – me. I was so thankful to get to play in a big band that when I went to rehearsal, I hugged any man who came close to me. (No sex intended.)

Ralph, an old saxophone player who had been with the band for years, was included in my hugs. Yet he may have been afraid of his wife Bernice’s reaction.

One day, Ralph said to me, “Don’t hug me; my wife is jealous.” And so, I never hugged him again. Meanwhile, I wondered if I had done something wrong by innocent hugs.

This absence of hugs with him went on until Ralph died. The band held a wake for him with all of us band members playing. I suggested to Bernice that she could continue coming to the rehearsals, which she did.

I also invited Bernice to assist me with the large cumbersome books. As my sight diminished, driving to rehearsals was impossible, and she graciously started driving me to and from the rehearsal hall.

She described her life with Ralph, and there was never any hint of jealousy from her. I wondered, “What does this mean?” I could only guess at Ralph’s motivation to deny hugs. Did he not like them? Did he believe that Bernice was jealous, when she may not have been? Was he embarrassed? Did he come from a “cold” family environment?

The point of the whole event for me was that if I believed Bernice to be jealous and rejected her because of this, I would never have had her friendship. She became essential in finding the current song in one of the gigantic music books for me as well as driving me to rehearsals and gigs.

The teachings I have come to embrace were of value to me. Being open to see “what’s really going on,” I came to question Ralph’s claim of Bernice’s jealousy.  I had accepted his words at face value.

 I’ve heard the Bible mention something about “hearsay,” but I never knew what that word meant. How often have I shunned some people because of the gossip I have heard from others. The gossip is only how those others may see them. It’s not for me to “believe” what they say, but to find out for myself. This lesson has come to me frequently through the years.

There are so many beautiful people in the world. I would like to discover them on my own, rather than listen to others’ opinions, conclusions, preferences, and conditioning.

Since both Bernice and Ralph have passed away, all I can say is they were some of my teachers in this “Life School.” I’ll continue to use this open approach and my own judgment when I am no longer sequestered because of Covid and can again be out there with real living beings – not virtual!

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