Additional Titles









The Puzzle and the Key








Grants Pass




By Roy Masters
Author of "Hypnotic States of Americans"
June 5, 2012

[Adapted from Chapter 7 of my book The Secret Power of Words]

Remember that you cannot remain in agreement with wrong without becoming its subject. It is as simple as that! You must be constantly alert to the rightness of things. Watch out for those who give you things in order to obligate you. If the express purpose of the gift is to do you honor, and your pride falls for that, you will become enslaved both by the gift and the resentment you will feel when you discover the donor’s real motivation.

Another thing to watch out for is a tendency to puff up in self-righteous agreement with the truthful words of others. You might agree with the concepts of Truth intellectually, yet not be perfectly aligned with them in spirit. Simply agreeing with right words and right people will not lead you to salvation. To identify with words, study, and the inspiring suggestions of others is to serve the beast of pride. To serve Truth, you must know the spirit behind the words and go the way of Truth as it manifests itself to the sincerely seeking soul. As you have been told, it is a narrow way, and few find it.

As long as you remain uncommitted to the right way, the wrong in you will have sympathy for the wrong in others. It will not, and cannot, stand up against the wrong it needs for its wrong existence. Even when you try to do the right thing in this condition, you will do so out of resentment, and the recipient will judge you for your unworthy motivation. Speaking up in a wrong way actually cultivates the external wrong upon which you have based your own wrong development. As long as you live in your carnal ego-mind, you are bound by natural law to preserve the wrong in the world, either by not speaking up or by speaking up in a wrong way.

The name we give to the principle of failing is sin, and sin is a theme with countless variations. There is but one rigid rule you must adhere to for spiritual self-defense: you must find and cherish the original intuitive knowing and express it, come what may. You must confront the basis of your own selfish existence, which you feel as pain, rejection, anxiety, and guilt.

Some situations are quite plain; others are more subtle. As long as you are selfish, you cannot have a correct motivation; you cannot stand against the world of things your ego still needs to use for its egocentric development. It is hard to stand up to a wife or husband you are using for a sense of security, or to people from whom you selfishly hope to profit.

Suppose that you have just taken your car dealer to task for serving you poorly, or simply not doing his job right. Let us also suppose that you have made your points calmly and clearly, thus creating some embarrassment in the dealer even though he is not about to change his selfish, egotistical view. Finally, in a last-minute effort to make you happy and to neutralize everything you have said, he concedes some point and puts out his hand in a phony gesture of friendship. Whatever you do, don’t shake his hand. Instead, look him directly in the eye, without emotion or expression, and leave him with the egg on his face. Why? Because even to the devil, a handshake clinches a deal. It symbolizes agreement and friendship; it would signify support for his wrong and indicate that all is well between you when it is not.

While it would not be such a terrible sin to fail the test of integrity presented by the dealer in the above example, it is important that you understand the principle involved if you hope to grow in courage and prevail over the enemies of truth. They should fear you; you must not fear them. You must be a soldier of Light. It is your duty, at worst, to confound your enemies, at best, to save them. A handshake, token of friendship, could be a strategy of war, a subtle license for the offender. If you are running on “automatic,” not centered and fully conscious, your prior conditioning to trauma, your fear of offending, the false concepts about love, friendship, and goodness you have accepted blindly, will tend to surrender you to the enemy. The conditioning of culture is strong, but as you grow in understanding, you will gradually break its hold on you.

People may not learn much from your withholding a handshake, but you should not be looking for some tangible sign of victory anyway. Rest assured, if you handle the moment correctly, your adversary will experience some psychological indigestion that will tend to reduce, even paralyze, his ability to deal falsely with the next person and the one after that.

Your previous conditioning has compelled you to like those who like you and hate those who hate you. The desire to like and be liked has caused you to overvalue the importance of friendship, so you tend to overlook or sweep under the carpet a lot of little trespasses that a true friend would expose to the light of truth.

Wrong people tend to be gun-shy—once they have one “bad” experience, they become afraid of the next one and lose some of their false confidence. That’s just the reaction we want! We want them to be conditioned by the pain of experience with real people, for a change. Your role is to defang the adversary wherever you find him—that is, if you cannot wake him to reality. Your tongue is a two-edged sword. Use it; but remember not to use any effort of will. All you need is a clear understanding of what is right in the moment, and you will know whether or not a man is sincere when he puts out his hand in a display of friendship. But watch out! If the other person happens to be sincere, and you (in your pride) fail to see it, you will react in a wrong way and reject the right in the other person. You will find yourself on the side of wrong, and your guilt could drive you to wrong friends for comfort.

You must guard against the notion that you are alone in the understanding of Truth. The adversary has known about it all along, but he uses it to gain some advantage of his own. You are dealing with a highly sophisticated system, an intelligence that permeates the air around us, and it got there through ambitious, egotistical, selfish persons. The ambitious ones draw upon this devilish intelligence to get ahead, and lest you catch them at it, they have to confound you about what you know in your heart.

The adversary lives backward: his or her “human rights” are your moral wrongs. The adversary is very much aware of right and wrong, and of the barrier between you. He, or she, is always scanning, looking for a chink in your armor that he can use to get at you. But if you hold fast and hang on to your faith, your spirit will get inside your adversary and defeat hell’s plan. Your effect on him could be so devastating that he might actually die of shock and a sense of failure, especially if he swells with resentment.

Just remember that what happens to the enemy is none of your business. Never feel sorry for the enemy, no matter how much agony you appear to inflict on him. Never offer him aid and comfort. Hold the line, come what may. Otherwise, you will deny the other soul its special pain, the pain it needs to force him to wake up, or to die in the attempt to prevail against you. Unless you stand firm in these encounters, you will find your enemy feeding on your sympathy.

Let’s look at another hypothetical situation. Someone makes an appointment with you, but fails to show up. He may be tempting you to resent him. Don’t. Now suppose he shows up with an ironclad excuse that you know to be a lie. Careful, don’t judge him. Don’t let him tempt you to get upset or fall prey to doubt. Take control of the situation. You must remain aware and impervious to emotional upset. You may want to cancel the appointment entirely, or extract whatever good can be salvaged from it, but your cool attitude will be a lesson to the other person as long as you have not initiated the tease.

Life can be a deadly game. The dyed-in-the-wool adversary is a psychotic or a psychopathic killer. His subtle verbal poison is intended to kill you, but the “good” in you must turn the tables on him and kill him instead. If his soul chooses to identify with the evil in him, he will wither away. But if his soul longs for correction, your words will release him from error. He will be glad to be freed from his morbid clinging. He will have discovered a true friend.

The adversary depends on you to provide him with the means of overcoming you. He watches you for the signal of its presence: a weakening of confidence, perhaps, or a timid or fearful emotional response. He is a coward himself. His only strength lies in your failing to hold fast to your principles. You—yes, you—provide the enemy with the power he needs to destroy you. He will certainly test the power of your faith and your courage, for he will exude a kind of confidence he has gained from overcoming his previous victims. His strong authoritative manner can unnerve you as he tries his best to get to you emotionally. He will want you either to like or to hate him. Either way, a response will seal your fate and sap your strength. The moment of challenge is the moment of truth for both of you. Will it leave you bitter, or better?

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Bear in mind that your adversary is not internally motivated. He, or she, gets his energy like a vampire, by draining it from the victim’s faltering faith. He has no real power, no true faith of his own. He derives his feeling of confidence entirely from his power to make you accept a lie for the truth and play on your doubts and fears.

You mastermind your own downfall when you give others the power to rule over you. When you are proud, lacking in faith and love, you choose the false love of the world, the embrace of the serpent of old.

[To free yourself from entanglement in the intimidator’s game, you must learn to deal properly, without resentment, to pressures of any kind. My Be Still and Know meditation exercise shows you how to do this and helps you practice remaining in the proper state. You can try it before you buy it and, if you like it, purchase your own copy, at or by calling 800-877-3227.]

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Roy Masters—who in his 80s continues to broadcast the longest-running counseling show in talk radio history, his internationally syndicated daily radio program Advice Line, grew up in pre-WWII England. He started his journey toward understanding human nature when as a teen he saw a stage hypnotist at a vaudeville show in Brighton. The hypnotist easily put volunteer subjects in a spell and made them do outlandish things, like dancing with a broom and forgetting their own names.

Puzzled by the hypnotist’s mysterious power, Roy distinctly remembers pondering the question: “Why can’t hypnotism be used to make people act sensibly, rather than foolishly?” Inspired by the idea of harnessing this baffling force for good, he later pursued the art of hypnotism and established a successful hypnotherapy practice.

After several years of practice, Masters made his central and pivotal discovery about the root of people’s emotional problems, addictions and complexes. He realized that people did not need hypnosis, because their core problem was that they are already hypnotized—not by a clever stage performer, but by the stresses, pressures and seductions of daily life.

He used his knowledge to discover a way to help us become de-hypnotized, and discovered that the root of the power of negative suggestion lay in our wrong emotional response, that of resentment. Masters’ remarkably effective exercise, a simple observation technique called Be Still and Know—is at the core of his unmatched track record in helping people overcome even the most serious mental-emotional problems, and is the centerpiece of a successful program within the U.S. military community (“Patriot Outreach”) that is helping thousands of military personnel and their families cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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A man’s role is a man’s role, and no wife can rob her husband of his grace without becoming manly herself. Each of us must know his place in the divine order of things.