prepared by Star’s Edge International®
Someone once noted that the most rewarding efforts are those that not only accomplish what you set out to do but produce bonus results that are as good as or even better than the goal you intended. This is voiced again and again by Avatar Course graduates. “It was even better than I expected. A lot better.” “It far exceeded my expectations.”
And the consensus testimonial, which is a big part of the underlying reason for Avatar’s expansion around the globe is, “Wow, there are no words. This is what I’ve been waiting for all my life.”
So what is Avatar?
It is a straightforward self-development course that comes unencumbered by beliefs, sect memberships, or any quasi-religious rites. For these reasons, it is the high point of the human potential movement. Its graduates are quick to agree, “It is the most powerful, purest self-development program available at any price.”
Price? Yes, Avatar comes at a price, and a sizable one by some standards. The basic weekend workshop, called ReSurfacing®, costs $295. Section II of the course, which takes four to five days, costs $500, and Section III of the course, which takes two to four days, costs $1500. (Course prices vary in different countries.)
During the course, students are given many hours of personal attention, and any student who is not satisfied after Section II of the course is entitled to a full refund.
Where did it come from?
An educator with a background in educational psychology named Harry Palmer created Avatar in 1986. He wanted to present a training program that people would find valuable. “Our intention,” he states in his ReSurfacing textbook, “is that the people we train and license to deliver The Avatar Course charge money (not worship nor homage nor admiration, but currency alone) for their valuable service, and that they charge enough that Avatar continues to expand….”
For 40 years the visionary ideas behind the Avatar Materials incubated in the mind of Harry Palmer. Like many of us, Harry had occasional glimpses into the patterns that creation seemed to follow, but for him a glimpse wasn’t enough. In 1976, Harry resigned his tenured teaching position and began what was to become a decade of study and investigation into how consciousness works.
Harry is an accomplished man without pretensions or any magical airs, but with a certain deep-seated calm and a warm and quick sense of humor. He does not look or act like anyone’s guru or a corporate executive. He tends to wear tee-shirts and running shoes and is usually in the middle, though not necessarily the focus, of the excitement. He prefers incisive simplicity to any charismatic drama.
Harry revived the tradition of the early 19th century mystery schools and, accordingly, many of his writings are confidential and studied under the supervision of trained Avatar Masters. This de facto confidentiality preserves the quality of the instruction and the freshness of the materials, as well as making economic sense.
Today, few who fair-mindedly study Harry Palmer’s techniques can doubt the profound effect that his writings are having on the collective consciousness of the world. Harry’s writings have been translated into 20 languages, and his business model has had a major impact on the personal-development seminar industry.
Who takes The Avatar Course?
Students come from all walks of life—from monks to captains of finance—and a wide range of belief systems—from fundamentalists to atheists. Most find that Avatar intensifies their understanding of life and increases their tolerance and compassion for others.
Who runs Avatar?
Star’s Edge International, the company Palmer founded in 1986, has certainly achieved his goal of presenting a training program that people find valuable. A prominent liberal arts professor who has reviewed the course materials describes them as an elegant blend of oriental philosophy and western cognitive psychology. There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Avatar unveils deep-subconscious conditioning and restores self-control.
Today, the Star’s Edge Florida offices manage several thousand licensed Avatar teachers (Masters) in 66 countries. Supervising this network is a staff of administrators and an international team of Star’s Edge Trainers who come from China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia, France, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, USA, and Venezuela. To date, 65,000 people have graduated from Star’s Edge’s courses.
What does Avatar do for people?
The Avatar Course produces profound increases in self-awareness. This allows graduates to make changes in their values and goals. These changes are self-determined and are not the result of influences or persuasions by the teacher. Avatar Masters are discouraged from passing their own beliefs to students.
In a graduation commencement address given on April 28, 1990, in Nice, France, Palmer made it clear what he expects from Avatar Masters:
“Anyone can decide their beliefs are righteous. Any belief can be dressed up to look righteous. Righteous beliefs are inscribed upon parchment and in holy books. Eventually they become slogans on battle flags and are used to justify insensitive acts for which no sane individual would ever assume personal responsibility. If they did, they would be tried and convicted for murder. So people die by the thousands with righteous beliefs on every side.
“It is better that you denounce Avatar a thousand times than use it even once as a righteous belief to justify your actions. Champion no cause above personal responsibility.
“When enough people are able to see that the only real difference between any of us are the ideas and beliefs that we create, there will be a spontaneous worldwide awakening to the fact that everyone on this planet shares a common destiny.
“As Avatars you remember who you are and what you are not. You remember you are not things. You remember you are not any of the ideas of nationalism or race that humans fight over. You are neither expressions nor identities. You are the source of these things, and you can create better.
“Together we can work to feed the hungry, protect the environment, and speak for peace—these are the efforts that buy us the time needed to expand Avatar and create an enlightened planetary civilization. Ultimately, the real solution to these problems lies where they began—in consciousness.”
What is personal responsibility?
Personal responsibility is the ability to determine one’s own decisions, choices, and actions. In Avatar, this is called being source. A natural outcome of increasing this ability is that people discover areas in their lives that they haven’t been controlling.
A fundamental characteristic of people who support the creation of an enlightened planetary civilization is a high level of personal responsibility. Avatar’s emphasis on increased personal responsibility contributes directly to creating an enlightened planetary civilization.
Does everyone like Avatar?
No. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the way Star’s Edge does about personal responsibility. It is a complex issue that has motivated an occasional press attack on Avatar. Some individuals, organizations, and even countries, develop extreme psychological domination over people’s lives. Psychologists call this dominance/submission a form of co-dependency. When the victim of such a relationship increases personal responsibility, the dominating partner—or organization, or country—is threatened, i.e., personal growth on the part of the victim threatens the status quo. From the dominator’s point of view, Avatar is a threat—something to be decried as dangerous and to be avoided. Such people have even made the accusation that Avatar is a brainwashing cult. Ironically, those making the accusation are usually guilty of the offense themselves.
One young German woman who left her boyfriend after taking the course describes her decision to leave as, “waking up and realizing I was trapped in a unhappy relationship.” But her boyfriend claims she was brainwashed. Even though completely untrue, the local press found the boyfriend’s story attention grabbing and immediately sensationalized Avatar as a “dangerous brainwashing cult.”
“We don’t brainwash people,” explained an Avatar spokeswoman. “Just the opposite. We help people to recognize limiting beliefs that they may not have accepted voluntarily or may not even be aware of. We show them how to change their beliefs if they choose. We don’t tell people what to believe nor do we put forth any beliefs as true beliefs. We only help people to make a connection between the consequences they are experiencing in life and the beliefs that they hold. Avatar teaches personal responsibility.
“Ask yourself, what kind of a person labels increased awareness and personal responsibility as dangerous?”
How does Avatar view the media?
In a briefing Harry Palmer instructed Masters: “It’s no surprise that the best journalists count integrity and the ability to present the story honestly as their highest skills. They know that if they report a false story or allow themselves to be manipulated by someone bearing a grudge, their credibility among peers and editors may be gone forever. Skilled reporters hate to write retractions; retractions are career killers. So don’t ever put a reporter in a position where they might have to. Tell them the truth; trust them until they give you a good reason not to.
“If you do run into a careless or hostile reporter pressed by deadlines who relies on the gossip and rumors spread by our enemies and ignores the facts, don’t worry too much; the truth always wins out in the end.”
The Mission of Avatar
Avatar is spearheading the most important campaign of humanity: to create an enlightened planetary civilization. Is this just an impossible, grandiose idea?
“Delusions of grandeur,” says Harry Palmer in his bestseller LIVING DELIBERATELY, “are delusory only as long as they remain unaccomplished. Otherwise they are great and noble deeds.”
In a private interview, Harry Palmer spoke about his strategy for contributing to an enlightened planetary civilization:
Q. The first question is why?
Harry: I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my life, and I’ve been successful at most of them. But the job that really fits me, the one that makes me feel good in my soul, is contributing to the creation of an enlightened civilization.
Q. How do you describe yourself?
Harry: I have been called a hardcore visionary. I guess that’s partly because of the utopian vision of the enlightened planetary idea and hardcore because I never give up.
Q. How do you plan to succeed when others have failed?
Harry: My plan is really pretty simple: help the guy next to you to wake up, and when he does, tell him to pass it on. Of course, if you want his best, full-time efforts, there are economic and social realities that must be considered and addressed. People like to help each other, but they also like to live comfortably and enjoy friends. So the lessons that lead to awakening must be valuable to the people who receive them, and they should be happy to pay a fair price for them.
One of the lessons I have learned from life is that not only are negative behaviors contagious, but selfless service to others is also contagious. That’s my strategy to contribute to an enlightened planetary civilization. Together we can create an epidemic of compassion and enlightened understanding.
Copyright 2003 Star’s Edge International. Permission to reprint this article in its entirety is granted.