You, God, Love, Life: Principles of Self Transformation first began its life as a self development program that Charles Berner put together in the 1960’s and 70’s. It was created from a collection of talks, essays, study questions, exercises and meditations that Berner organised into a program of sequential lessons for improving the life skills and spiritual development of his students. He called the program The Fundamentals of Life.
This book essentially is that program edited into this published format. Berner begins by telling the readers that the ideas and practices he will be presenting will be “a voyage of discovery about yourself and life. You will find it the most exciting and rewarding voyage you have ever taken." Berner suggests that it is best to not “become too serious" but to investigate with sincerity. Berner never demanded a blind faith in respect to his teachings. He always counselled and encouraged self reflection and personal direct experience rather than following a belief system, philosophy or religion. “In my teachings I do not ask for belief nor do I recommend it. In fact I discourage it,” he writes. “Either a person knows something and is sure of it or not. Teachings do not function properly when they rest on a foundation of belief. Teachings function properly only when they rest on a foundation of understanding. I want you to understand what I am teaching and have it make sense to you.”
This current volume is organised into twenty eight chapters divided into five main sections: Theology, Life, Help, Communication, Problems. Theology is the first section. Berner explores the idea of what God is and the evolution of those ideas. He acknowledges at the start that the “primary, number one idea at the core” of the entire book is that “You are Divine.” Berner isn’t content with simply making that statement but goes on to explain what he means theologically, spiritually and in practical terms with respect to what your are and your relationship to the divine. He writes that your basic nature and God’s nature are the very same: “One, that you are conscious…” “Two, that you have free will…” And three, ”that your basic nature is spiritual…”
Berner brings each chapter to a completion with a set of study questions that highlight the principles of that particular chapter. For example here are a couple of study questions in section one: “What things did primitive man worship as God?” Or “How can you be Divine if everything is not perfect in your life?” Additionally Berner usually includes several active self reflective exercises or meditations to help you master the principals of that chapter. For example: “For one minute think of what God is. Write your observations in your journal.” Or, “Get the idea that others exist. Write your observations in your journal.” “Now get the idea that others do not exist. Write your observations in your journal.”