As received by
Marshall Vian Summers
on September 26, 1995
in Boulder, Colorado

The Creator has given you authority over the affairs of your life. This authority extends to what you think and to what you do, to your decision-making and to the results of these decisions.

The Creator has empowered you to become the captain of your own ship. Within this sphere of responsibility, you are encouraged to exercise your authority and to learn how to manage your thinking and affairs with wisdom.

The Creator knew that you could not do this on your own without Divine guidance within you, so the Creator has given you Knowledge—the greater Mind within you, a Mind which dwells beyond the reach of your intellect, beyond your grasp, but not beyond your experience. This is the greatest of all endowments, and this is the source of your authority.

The Creator gave you this power so that you could learn to become strong and responsible, and so that you could find the road to union within yourself and the means for uniting with others.

The Creator realized that you needed to demonstrate your own strength and authority in order to reclaim your identity and to realize and to fulfill your mission in the world. If you relied on the Creator for all these things, you would never claim this authority, and you would never regain your true ability or your true function in life.

At the outset of learning and living The Way of Knowledge, you must begin to exercise this authority. This is usually experienced through the power of decision, which you are entrusted to make and encouraged to use. Here many people stop because they are afraid that they cannot make a wise decision. Their decisions in the past have led them into such difficulty and have given them such tribulation that they cannot trust their own decisions.

But here, in spite of many past errors, in spite of self-deception and the willingness to allow others to deceive you, you must begin again; you must start anew. Here you are encouraged to take responsibility for what you must do.

When someone comes to The Way of Knowledge and begins to read about The Way of Knowledge and the books of wisdom, they are exercising this authority already. They are saying to themselves: “I will select this material to read and to understand. I will make an attempt to understand and to experience what these great books of Wisdom are providing for me.” This is an act of exercising authority to a very small degree.

And even before someone comes to The Way of Knowledge, they have had to exercise this authority in making a new commitment to truth, in making a new commitment to self-honesty, in making a new commitment to choose a way that will not harm them and will lead them away from danger, conflict and tribulation.

Exercising this authority, then, is crucial at every stage of your development. Even before you come to The Way of Knowledge, you have exercised this authority on your own behalf. Perhaps you still continue to follow the will of your personal mind in all of its recklessness and feverish pursuits. But to come to The Way of Knowledge, you have already exercised your true authority and have chosen not to follow false authorities that you have assigned to yourself or that you have assigned to others.

Your greater purpose and mission in life can only be known. Those who sent you into the world can only be known. The nature and reality of the Creator can only be known. Your true nature and reality can only be known. That is why you must learn The Way of Knowledge, for the answers to all the great questions in life, the fulfillment of all the genuine needs in life, are provided through Knowledge, for they can only be known, and they can only be experienced.

Knowledge will bring you to this experience, step by step, and Knowledge will enable you to regain your strength, your self-confidence and your self-respect by enabling you to exercise the great authority that has been given to you.

You cannot return to the Creator a miserable wretch. You cannot return to the Creator in a state of spiritual welfare. You must become strong. You must become inner directed. You must regain your self-respect and your confidence in Knowledge.

Here you step away from the false authority that you have given to yourself in thinking that you could guide and define your life through your desires, your fears and your ambitions. Here you step away from all the false authority that you have placed in others, where you have given your authority away.

Instead, you come to Knowledge. You come because you know you must come. You take these Steps because you know you must move forward. You step away from the past because you know that you must step away from the past. You come to The Way of Knowledge because you know that it is the answer to your needs.

It is the way. The only answer is to take the way, to follow the Steps to Knowledge. What other answer could there be? To restore to you your true purpose, your true nature and identity, you must take the Steps towards their realization. That is the only answer that is an answer. And to take these Steps, you must exercise your authority.

At the outset, people have great difficulty in trying to practice this idea of exercising their authority. They will think that exercising their authority is assuring themselves that they will have everything they want and that they will avoid any kind of disappointment. They will not want to deny any aspect of themselves. They will not want to turn away from any desire.

But this is not exercising your authority. This is merely being a slave to your impulses. This is being a follower to the authority that you have given to your desires, to your fears, to your ambitions or to the desires, fears and ambitions of others.

Your authority here is Knowledge and Knowledge alone. That is the only real authority that you have. That is the only real power that you have. Your Knowledge contains the memory and the means for reclaiming your true ability, for recognizing your mission in life and for finding the means for its fulfillment. Nothing else can hold this for you.

Your desires cannot hold this for you. Your fears cannot hold this. Your ambitions cannot hold this. They lead in another direction. They lead you to give your power to other authorities and to become in bondage to them, believing all the while that you will not be happy without attempting to fulfill these things for yourself.

But once a man or woman comes to The Way of Knowledge, they have learned already that there is a greater purpose that is driving them, and they cannot take the easy way of simply being a slave or a servant to their thoughts, their emotions or their beliefs. They have seen the great damage and disasters that these have created in their life, the great waste and misappropriation of their lifetime and life energy.

Now they realize that there is something that is greater, that is beyond these simple things to which everyone gives themselves. They have a greater destiny. And so they begin to exercise their true authority in choosing the way to truth, and the way to truth will bring them to The Way of Knowledge.

You have a great authority within you. You do not need to appeal to the Creator or to the Angelic Host. You do not need to appeal to mysterious powers in the Greater Community of worlds. You need to come home to yourself, not the self that has been conditioned and created through your experience of being in the world, but to the greater Self that you have brought with you into the world from your Ancient Home. This holds your authority. This is where your strength and meaning reside.

Now people say, “Well, how can I decide what my real authority is and what my real authority is not? I have such strong feelings. I have such strong compulsive needs. I am driven to do this and to do that. I am so preoccupied with other things.”

And I say your real authority will speak very quietly and consistently. It does not argue. It does not debate. It does not choose options. It does not make deals. It does not only seek for that which looks profitable or advantageous.

When you go against your authority, you will feel a great discomfort within yourself. You will feel that something is wrong at a really deep part of yourself. This is an indication that Knowledge is with you and that you are going against it.

This is different from fear and anxiety that preoccupy the mind at the surface of the mind. We are speaking of something very deep and pervasive. You have had this experience of going against Knowledge. You have had this experience many times. Perhaps before you were not aware of it in the moment, but now you can become aware of it in the moment.

One of the ways that you find Knowledge is by going against it and experiencing what this feels like within your mind and within your body—this sense of discomfort and estrangement. Here Knowledge will not criticize you. It will only withdraw and remain silent, for it has no condemnation. If its recommendation or its influence cannot be felt and accepted, it must simply wait until you can come back again.

This is why there can never be a vengeful God or an angry Creator. Because Knowledge represents the Will and Intelligence of the Creator, it demonstrates how the Creator functions within you and within life.

Because people have given their authority away to foreign ideas and to distant powers, they think that whatever they receive or whatever they suffer for is from the Creator or from someone else, from some other person, from some government or from some Divine force.

They do not see that they are responsible for the management of their own ship. They must get out and clean the decks. They must unfurl the sails. They must repair the rigging. They must steer the ship. They must maintain the condition of their vehicle, which is their mind and their body.

Here their responsibility ends, for they are not responsible for the journey. They are not responsible for their destiny. They are not responsible for their origin. And they are not responsible for creating the special cargo, the real contribution that they have on board the ship.

Think clearly here. Realize what great responsibility there is in managing and maintaining one’s own ship with wisdom and authority. This is a challenge that few in the world have ever met sufficiently. To maintain your ship as the captain of your ship so that your journey can be fulfilled is something that very few people have accomplished.

But it can be accomplished. It is given to you to accomplish. You must be on that ship. You must set sail. The Creator will guide the ship through the greater forces that affect you, but you must prepare your ship to sail. You must finally leave port and head out. You must manage your ship. You must maintain yourself. Here you exercise your authority continuously, and by doing so, you honor the Source of your authority.

This is worshipping the Creator, not by falling down on your knees, not by offering endless requests for supplication, not by giving your want list, but by becoming responsible for your life so that your ship can make a greater journey and deliver its special cargo, its greater contribution in the world. Here you honor your reality, the reality of the Creator and the reality of all who dwell here.

Right now the Unseen Ones, who are the Angels of the Creator, who are your true Teachers, are seeking to prepare your ship to sail. Perhaps you think you are sailing already, but you may be wandering around the harbor. You have not yet ventured into the open sea.

This is a different kind of journey than simply wandering around the world hoping or believing that someone or something is guiding you. This is a different kind of journey than simply experimenting with this or with that, or getting in and out of relationships, or trying out all kinds of spiritual teachings, or reading lots of books about spirituality or psychology.

That is not sailing on the open sea. To sail on the open sea, your ship must be prepared. Your crew, which represents your primary thoughts, must be in harmony and must recognize and serve your authority. Your sails, which are your abilities, must be prepared. You must have all of your provisions. You must have your crew in order.

Everything must be prepared, for this is not a reckless journey. This is not a journey of will, wish and impulse. This is not a journey you take thinking that nothing bad can happen to you and that everything will be taken care of for you, because you cannot take this journey if you are in a state of welfare or have a welfare mentality regarding your relationship with the Divine.

Here instead, the Divine is entrusting you to carry out the mission, to take a greater journey in life. Instead of you thinking the Creator is going to do everything for you and provide every opportunity and rescue you from every problem or every challenge, you realize it is the other way around. And you say, “Oh, my gosh! What a responsibility! I am not sure I can do this!”

But you can do this because Knowledge lives within you and because you have come into the world for a purpose. You have come into the world to engage with certain people to fulfill certain aspects of the Greater Plan. These are not yet known to you.

Your thoughts about them cannot contain their reality, for you must make the journey to their fulfillment. You must find those special people. You must engage in those unique activities. You must venture into the open sea—beyond the harbor of your thoughts, beyond the harbor of social beliefs and conveniences. You must go while everyone else remains behind in disrepair or in an attempt to negotiate life without the real foundation of their authority.

Here you set sail, looking back where everyone remains behind. For few can leave the port of personal security and personal belief. They are all bound there. They have ships, but they cannot sail them. They have crews, but the crews will not get on board. They have sails, but they cannot be repaired and made functional. They have provisions, but they cannot bring those provisions on to their vessel.

They are in disarray. Judge them not, for you have lived there yourself. Now you are learning how much strength and courage it takes to become the captain of your ship, to rebuild your ship, to prepare your ship and to gain the provisions and the crew that are necessary.

It is by exercising authority that you will have compassion for those who cannot or will not, for you will see that it is a great challenge. But it is this great challenge that you so need. You so need this to find your strength, to become a man or a woman of Knowledge, to become a person who has a greater mission and destiny in life.

You cannot take the easy way, the comfortable way. You cannot stay with popular ideas or self-comforting notions. You cannot stand around all day saying pretty things to yourself, reassuring yourself, excusing yourself from error, avoiding difficulty and unpleasantness.

The people who are left behind in the harbor are all waiting for someone else to do it for them. They want to be the crew, not the captain. They do not want to have to do so much. But they expect that they will be great and have a great deal. They want something for nothing. They want their purpose, their meaning, their direction and their destiny revealed to them, but they will not make the journey where these things become apparent and self-evident. They will not exercise their real authority.

Have compassion. Do not condemn them. For when you see how difficult it is and how life giving it is to reclaim this primary, essential authority, you will understand, and you will try to help others find this authority over time. But first you must claim it for yourself, and you must exercise it sufficiently so that your ship can prepare to leave the harbor.

People here may say, “Oh, my gosh! I cannot take such a journey alone. It would be too much for me!” You will not take this journey alone. The Unseen Ones will abide with you. And your ship will join with other ships. And you will find your direction. If you stay in the harbor and try to figure it out, plan it out or assume what it might be, you will never know. You will never find it.

You must make the journey. Then you will know what the journey is. Then you will know what you are seeking. Then you will know what you must accomplish.

Here you must be willing to be a beginner, for you are a beginner. Everyone is a beginner in The Way of Knowledge, regardless of what they believe or think that they have done or accomplished. Everyone is a beginning student of Knowledge because you must be a beginner to start.

If you think you know already, if you think you understand already, and you place this much credence in your own ideas and assumptions, then you will never leave the harbor. You will not even get on board your own ship. You will make the journey in your mind, but not in reality.

In the study of The Way of Knowledge, people are encouraged to exercise their authority at every step—not the authority of their will, not the authority of their wishes, or their ambitions, but the authority of Knowledge itself.

To read the Wisdom books, you are exercising your authority. Even if you think that they will give you something, you will exercise this authority because you are turning in the right direction. Even if you think that they will fulfill your ambitions and give you wealth, abundance, love, relationship, happiness; even if you have a welfare mentality, you are still turning in the right direction.

When you make a journey, when you are out on the water, you must be heading in the right direction. Do not think that any direction you go is going to take you to your destination. People who are wandering around the harbor make this assumption. They think, “Well, everyone will find their destiny. We are all right where we need to be!” But they are going nowhere, at great expense, at great effort.

You must have the right direction. When you read the Wisdom books, you are heading in the right direction. When you decide to begin the study of Steps to Knowledge, even if you think it will give to you everything you want, even if you are still waiting for the free gift from the Divine, you are still turning in the right direction.

Knowledge knows that your motives are not yet pure. Knowledge knows that you are still encumbered and burdened with the belief that you must fulfill all of your ambitions to be happy. Knowledge knows that you are so burdened, but it will unburden you. It will liberate you. It will take you from being a miserable servant to being the captain of your ship. And it will do this without instilling in you any sense of arrogance because when you are the captain of your ship, you will realize that you rely upon Knowledge and that you are a part of something that transcends your understanding. Then you will be reverent, you will be humble, but you will be strong.

Upon this, the Creator can bestow upon you your mission in life. But this cannot be bestowed upon you until you are ready. And to prepare you, the Creator has given Steps to Knowledge and the Books of Wisdom.

Every Step that you take in Steps to Knowledge, every practice that you undertake, is an act of exercising your authority. It is through exercising this authority that you will realize your strength, that you will realize the source of your strength, that you will see that you are not simply fulfilling your wishes or your ambitions.

You will see that you are honoring something that is great, greater even than the world—something that is free in the world, that cannot be dominated or manipulated by the wishes or the will of others, or even by the machinations of governments or even by anyone in the Greater Community of worlds.

Such an authority is within you. But you must exercise it to realize it. You cannot simply believe in it or make grand assumptions about it or hope that it will do everything for you and that you can wander through life like a helpless little child.

No, you must take charge of your affairs. You must organize your thinking. You must begin to face the Four Pillars of your life—the Pillar of Relationships, the Pillar of Work, the Pillar of Health and the Pillar of Your Spiritual Development. For these are part of your responsibilities.

To set sail on the open water, you must have relationships that support you and that are in harmony with your greater mission. Your work must support your ability to be a student. And you must be able to exercise wisdom in your decisions there. You must have sufficient mental and physical health to undergo such a journey. And you must be preparing in The Way of Knowledge in order to advance your spiritual development in a real and genuine way.

Developing these Pillars is not something that is done all at once. It is done step by step, and each step you take, you exercise this authority. And every time you exercise this, this authority becomes a little stronger, a little more revealing of its reality and nature.

Here your ability and your deeper inclinations become revealed to you, and you learn to accept them and to utilize them effectively and appropriately. Here you recognize the risks and dangers of making false assumptions, of becoming impatient and trying to rush ahead, of trying to fill in the gaps in your understanding with your own preferred ideas.

Instead, you learn to become patient. You learn forbearance. You learn to allow your comprehension, your understanding, to be incomplete because it is incomplete.

Here you make friends with the unknown and learn to live with the mystery of your life, whereas before you could not tolerate uncertainty. Everything had to be defined. Everything had to be organized. You filled in all the spaces with conventional ideas and convenient beliefs. It was upon this false understanding that you based your sense of certainty and your identity.

But these have failed you, for they could only fail you. Now you turn to the greater authority, the greater identity that lives within you and that has been awaiting your arrival for so long.

You follow the Steps to Knowledge. You utilize your practice. You learn to work in the Four Pillars of your life, bringing Knowledge into your decision making, appealing to Knowledge in others, building strong relationships that can embody Knowledge and stepping away from those that deny Knowledge or that cannot support Knowledge.

Here you are preparing your ship to sail, for on this journey you can only take what is essential and necessary for the mission itself. You cannot take everyone you love, you cannot take everything you like, you cannot take all the things that you believe in, you cannot take all of your memories—for your ship will not hold them, and they cannot support your mission. You can only take with you those things—those ideas, those memories, those attitudes, those beliefs, those possessions, those activities, and those relationships—that can journey with you.

As I speak, you can begin to see how much you must exercise your authority and to what degree you must recognize this authority and distinguish it from the other impulses in your mind.

Here you can see that you must develop a real foundation for certainty within yourself, a commitment to life. Here you must let certain things fall away. Here you must make fundamental and consequential decisions. Here you must honor what is known instead of being a servant to what is wanted.

This authority will restore to you your power and your ability. It will reveal to you over time your true capabilities. It will bring to you those relationships that are essential for your development and for the fulfillment of your mission. It will clear the way for you. It will make you strong. It will give you your authority.

Then your thoughts, which represent the crew on your ship, will obey you. They will follow you. They will serve you—because you are the authority to follow, because you can exercise power, because you can command that which is given you to command, which is your thoughts, your activities and your affairs.

You must become a man or a woman of Knowledge. Nothing less. You will find what a greater challenge and accomplishment this is. And you will find what gifts it will enable you to give to others.

And every step along the way, you will have to exercise your authority. You will have to give up a welfare mentality. You will have to give up so many assumptions, many of which are popular. You will have to open your mind and let your mind become empty. You will have to live life very cleanly, very efficiently, very consciously.

But is this not what you really want? Can you settle for less than this? Can you remain in the harbor and find any sense of fulfillment there? You have been in this harbor long enough. You have wandered around the harbor. Your ship has been out of the water. You can see the disarray around you there.

You can look out and see the open sea is awaiting you, calling to you. You can feel this calling within yourself. And you can feel your restlessness and realize that you cannot stay where you are, for you have people to meet and places to go, and you must go there.

You cannot immerse yourself in pleasures or comforts or luxuries because that is not why you came to the world. You cannot settle for what seems to satisfy everyone else because you have a mission, and those who sent you here are calling you to remind you that you have a mission and that you must take the Steps to Knowledge to find this mission and to have the strength and the authority to fulfill it.

Come then to the real authority, not with trepidation but with relief and with courage and with the willingness to discover its reality and to exercise its strength.

Come as a beginner, realizing you must learn what this authority is and how it can be expressed with wisdom.

Come understanding you must leave behind your old ideas, your old assumptions and old definitions because you will not need them now, for you have found the real authority in your life. It is this authority that you must utilize on your own behalf to find your true integrity and to remember to reclaim the gifts that you have brought with you from your Ancient Home to bestow upon the world.