An interview with Harry Palmer by Perspective magazine from 1996
Perspective: I suspect the question you are asked most often is: “What is Avatar?” So, what is Avatar?
Harry: Avatar is about every reality that is, was or will be. I know that’s not very descriptive, but it is the truest statement I can make. Avatar deals with creation, which I define as anything that has definition or limits in space, time or awareness. That covers the universe and everything in it.
Since most people are not really ready to engage Avatar at such an all-encompassing level, I usually talk about beliefs. People have an instinctive recognition that what they believe has a consequence in their lives. The principle dilemma of existence is what to believe. That’s the philosophic abyss that confronts everyone. That’s the abyss called,“I don’t know.” It’s dangerous not to know. At the edge of this abyss are the shops of the belief peddlers. Some shops are lavish and hallowed with histories. Some are Volkswagen buses driven by cult recruiters. Everybody is selling a program and a one-way pass to the land of truth on the other side of the abyss. There are thousands of bridges across the abyss, and each one leads to a slightly different reality.
What is different about Avatar is that the program is blank, and the pass is round trip!
Perspective: It sounds like taking a belief out for a test drive.
Harry: That’s good, and there’s no fuss about returning it.
People pretty much experience what they believe — even though sometimes they don’t believe they believe it.
The difficulty for some is in distinguishing between what they believe and what they pretend to believe. They are not always the same.
Perspective: Are you saying that we don’t always know what we believe or experience what we say we believe?
Harry: That’s right. And that is the flaw in positive thinking. You can stick signs on every mirror in the house saying, “I’m happy to be me,” and chant it for a half hour before every meal and still not experience it. The reason it won’t take you across the abyss into an experience is because you are already across experiencing something else. Maybe you came on the ticket, “Nothing really makes me happy.” That is the real belief that is underlying and motivating all of the positive assertions.
Perspective: So how do I discover what I really believe? What ticket did I purchase at the belief bazaar?
Harry: The easiest way is to work backwards from what you’re experiencing. If you are experiencing unhappiness, you can be pretty certain that your leap of faith across the abyss was on a belief that you were going to be unhappy.
When you find the real belief, you can use the Avatar techniques to change it. When you do, what you are experiencing will change. Until you find the real belief, you’re “believing over,” and what you are experiencing is only superficially affected.
Perspective: That’s a good point. I have seen a lot of people do a workshop or a seminar and add a new coat of belief to their lives. It doesn’t really affect the
way they act for very long.
This brings me to another question. What is the difference between belief and truth?
Harry: Sometimes the border between belief and truth is a little hazy, particularly when we are dealing with qualities that are not purely physical.
There is usually some agreement in regard to empirical events. For instance, the tree falls. No question in anyone’s mind. The tree was standing and now it’s toppled over. We can measure where it fell, how strong the trunk wood was, how old it was, etc. No one has to take any of this on faith. You can go and kick the tree. It’s a truth. The tree has fallen. But now ask, “Why did the tree fall?” Now we are confronted by what to believe.
It was old and rotten. The wind blew it over. It was an act of God. It was a sign. That type of tree is always toppling over. It was a malicious spirit. It was pollution in the air. It was a thinning of the ozone layer. It was an earth tremor. These are all beliefs. Of course, once you believe one you will find the evidence. The wind was blowing at 36.5 miles per hour and created a load factor that exceeded the strength of the tree.
And you say, “Oh, sure, and why didn’t every tree fall or why did the wind reach 36.5 miles per hour just before the tree fell?”
Solar temperatures caused an atmospheric imbalance between the ocean and the land.
And you say, “Okay, and why did that happen?”
If you happen to feel a little perverse, just keep pushing for a more fundamental why and eventually you will reach our abyss, which could just as well be called, “I don’t know.”
It is at this “I don’t know” that the whole concatenation of beliefs begins as to why the tree toppled over. As long as we make the concatenation long enough that no one runs off into the abyss, we have a “scientific” technology that explains why trees topple over.
Perspective: So why did the tree topple over?
Harry: Honest answer? I don’t know. But you see, not knowing is dangerous. Fear arises. Fear motivates explanation. So let’s say I pushed the tree over so I could make a point. I did it deliberately.
Perspective: And the point?
Harry: The point is that around this singular event of a tree falling over, a whole belief-generated reality can develop. A reality with winds and stress factors and solar thermal, etc. Anyone experiencing within this reality finds the same beliefs at the foundation of the reality.
Of course, there are equally plausible alternate realities. For instance, soil moisture and root rot.
The interesting thing is that the people experiencing the soil moisture/root rot reality can easily see that the reality of the wind/stress factor people is a belief system. They’re not always so discerning about their own reality.
Down deep inside of us is this sad little guy who clearly sees that everybody else’s reality is based on belief. He’s trapped in his own truth. He’s backing away from the abyss and explaining as fast as he can. When he permits himself to see his own reality he will discover illumination.
Perspective: That is an insightful metaphor. I guess my next question is why would I want to, to use your word, discreate my reality?
Harry: You don’t have to. It’s not the intention of Avatar to destroy your reality or what you believe. Avatar is about reminding people that they were once and can be again the source of their reality and may — that’s a key word — conclude their association with one reality and move on to another. We are seldom, if ever, locked into a reality that we can’t change.
Perspective: So in Avatar it’s up to the person to decide whether or not to change?
Harry: Absolutely. The only reason we choose to change is because as we grow more experienced, there is a desire for our realities to become more reflective of our new wisdom.
You don’t have to complete every problem in an arithmetic book before you move on to algebra. There comes a point when you get it. These numbers and these functions produce these results. Got it! Time to move on.
What? You say I’ve got to spend 16 more weeks doing arithmetic problems? No way! I’ve got Avatar and I’m out of here!
Perspective: And arithmetic is a belief system?
Harry: Yes. And so is algebra. So is every reality when viewed externally. But that doesn’t mean you can’t submerge yourself in a reality and learn the foundational beliefs and play the reality to your heart’s delight.
Just don’t get so stuck that for the rest of your life all you do are arithmetic problems.
Perspective: I can’t help thinking of the expression, “one-trick pony.”
Harry: Exactly! The purpose of using Avatar is so that your life doesn’t turn into a one-trick pony life.
Perspective: I think we all can relate to the idea that we’ve learned what we need to know from certain problems and events in our lives, and now it’s time to move on. Why Avatar?
Harry: Are you asking me to create a belief system? Okay. Let’s believe that creating and experiencing reality is only one of many potentials possessed by life. And let’s believe that when we conclude our exploration of these realities, we awaken to new potentials.
Perspective: That sounds like a truth to me.
Harry: Good. Then we can let it serve as truth until we are satisfied that we have learned what we need to know and are ready to go on. When we reach that point, Avatar will reappear.
Perspective: That’s interesting. Are you suggesting that the reason for Avatar’s appearance at this time is because a lot
of us are ready to move on?
Harry: Yes. I think a lot of people are ready to assume responsibility for their own, as well as for civilization’s, deliberate evolution. As life evolves it becomes more integrative and less defined. The
opposite direction, where life becomes more separate, solid and defined, is decay. Evolution and decay can be confused.
Perspective: Something else occurred to me while we were talking — maybe it’s just a belief. I mean of course it’s a belief. How do we go on talking? It’s all belief, right? I just got that!
Harry: No problem. Let’s just entertain each other and believe we’re discovering truth.
Perspective: Okay, I’m willing to believe that — I’ll deliberately believe that! Oh, I just understood the title of your book!
Anyway, where was I? Oh, what occurs to me is that the beliefs that are supported by the body’s senses are more solid and real but then seem to fade in certainty toward the edges of our sensory envelope. Is that right? Are we pushing the envelope of our own reality?
Harry: That is a good way to look at a reality.
There’s an old story about a farmer who places a budding pumpkin in a jug. As the pumpkin grows, it fills the jug and can’t grow any larger. The jug is the limit of what we can experience. When the jug is broken our reality expands.
Perspective: Seems like I remember reading an article by you in the Avatar Journal called “The Unlimited Self.”
Harry: That’s right.
Perspective: Okay, then I’ve got another question. If your reality just keeps growing, how do you ever get out of it to create a new reality? How do you get back across the abyss? Aren’t you just adding to and changing the reality every time you break the jug?
Harry: You are right. There really isn’t an exit out there at the limit of a reality-bubble. From the inside, every reality appears to be infinite.
The return ticket in this infinite reality is located exactly right where you are, and it is validated by fully experiencing —notice I did not say thinking or believing — fully experiencing yourself as source of the creation. Now, I’m not talking about blame. I’m talking about power and ability. As source of the reality, you can turn it on and off. When it’s on, it’s infinite. When it’s off, you’re back home.
Thinking, figuring, believing, etc., are tools for exploring a reality. They will not turn it off. Only experiencing a reality fully will turn it off.
Perspective: Is that possible — to experience a reality fully?
Harry: Yes it is, but it is an ability that needs to be understood and developed. Many people have experiencing confused with recording or judgments or emotions. All of these are really efforts not to experience what is.
Some people mistake experiencing for thinking or remembering. Everything gets categorized. Some people have experiencing confused with believing or
imagining, some with suffering — it’s a very misunderstood concept.
Perspective: How would you explain experiencing?
Harry: It’s actually a more fundamental phenomenon than language or understanding. It’s something an Avatar Master can lead you to in a short period of time, but there’s not a lot he or she can say about it — at least not a lot that is helpful as far as introducing you to experience.
I guess the best thing I can say about it is that experience is the other half of reality.
Perspective: I know you have invited people to feel you. Do you mean to experience you?
Perspective: When I feel you, I get that there is something beyond all the should’s and ought-to’s and qualifications and classifications that dominate our lives.
Perspective: Actually you do feel quite good. Why is that?
Harry: What feels good is the action of experiencing. When I invite someone to feel me, for a moment they drop their fixed ideas and beliefs about themselves and reconnect with their own sensation of being alive and sovereign. That feels good. It’s sort of an incomprehensible, sublingual connection. It crashes when we try to understand or explain it. When we feel, we share a definitionlessness am.
Perspective: Definitionlessness am?
Harry: The source of I am.
Perspective: I have a sense of this. It actually feels sacred or religious. Are we dealing with God here?
Harry: Perhaps, or maybe just another explanation.
Perspective: I’ve got one last question for you. Let me ask it and get it out of the way. There’s a lot of money involved with Avatar — 30,000 graduates at $2,000 each — that’s $60 million dollars. Where does that money go? Who gets it?
Harry: It is a lot of money, but you have to remember to divide it among the 2000 or so offices that deliver Avatar, the 30 or so countries that collect taxes, the expenses of operating a worldwide network, etc. Then you will begin to wonder how we manage on so little.
Money, power and sex tend to be the most aberrant subjects in our current civilization. I think that is because they have the most lies asserted about them.
It takes a little digging to find out what a person really believes about these subjects.
Our view of money, by the way, is that it is an energy and a medium that permits us to rapidly and enjoyably create an enlightened planetary civilization.
Beyond that, it’s not really of much concern.
Perspective: It has become obvious to me from talking with you and with some other Avatars that money is a means of accomplishing your objective rather than the objective itself.
Harry: That’s our belief.
Perspective: Why did you decide to share Avatar with the world?
Harry: I think it had something to do with perceived need.