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Complete Lectures of the Pathwork 1996 Edition Vol. 4

Complete Lectures of the Pathwork 1996 Edition Vol. 4

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Complete Lectures of the Pathwork 1996 Edition Vol. 4

843 pages
10 hours
Sep 26, 2013


This volume contains lectures 151-200 of the 1996 edition of the Pathwork Lectures given by Eva Pierrakos between 1957 and 1979 to Pathwork Communities worldwide. The teachings, profoundly concerned with self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and self-responsibility, are full of wisdom and love.

Sep 26, 2013

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Complete Lectures of the Pathwork 1996 Edition Vol. 4 - Eva Pierrakos


Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 151

1996 Edition

April 7, 1967


Greetings, my dearest friends. The divine blessings streaming in the atmosphere around and within you are a powerful force, available to you provided you are open and receptive to it.

Self-realization means becoming aware of this universal, cosmic power, available at all times. It is your tragedy to be cut off from this power, to be oblivious or ignorant of its existence. For knowing of it is one of the prerequisites for making it available. When you enter the realm where it is possible to make this power available, you find yourself in the predicament of not being able to know what you have not experienced. Therefore, to bridge the gap between previous experience and the available power, it is necessary to consider the new possibility. This is always the intelligent approach to every new step of branching out, whether in science or in any other realization of truth. However, you are usually not ready to do this, for you falsely believe you must have definite opinions. You fluctuate at all times between a definite yes and a definite no. No discovery can ever be made with this attitude. The attitude must truly be, Is it possible? Could it be? I will honestly look and consider the possibility, with all sincerity and without shirking any effort, in any direction that may prove to be necessary.

This may sound like a simple task, my friends. However simple it really is, it is a human peculiarity to find it very difficult to adopt this attitude. Therefore, one of the hindrances to making the universal power available is the inability to seriously and openly question and make oneself available to a new truth — no matter how revolutionary it may be — to a new outlook that seems to contradict previous convictions and experience.

This obstacle of denying a fact that is immediately available — because the openness to look without preconceived ideas is absent — is never entirely a result of never having thought of it. When this is the case, a person will instantly adopt an open attitude whenever the opportunity in life presents itself — and this always happens, again and again. The rigid refusal to look and consider — the adherence to opinions, often based not on actual and personal experience but merely on hearsay — is always a result of personal fear to look at the self.

Another grave obstacle to self-realization is that you have unconscious attitudes, opinions, thoughts and feelings which completely contradict your conscious attitudes, opinions, thoughts and feelings. This discrepancy presents a major block, for the unconsciously held material covers and barricades the cosmic force. The mind believes it is expedient to block off this material. Therefore, it cannot relax, it cannot adopt the flexible, unafraid attitude that is essential to be attuned to the cosmic force. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to take the road into your unconscious in order to realize the power you have within yourself. Each false concept, each wrong conclusion, each erroneous opinion, each destructive attitude, each negative emotion stands directly in the way of the realization of this power.

All this you know, and we, on our path here, work diligently. However, no matter how much all of you are involved in your pathwork, it is easy to lose the outlook which aims at and emphasizes the significance of self-realization. Self-realization means, as I said, to make use of the power you have. This power is tremendous, my friends.

The power is twofold. It is a cosmic energy and strength that is so revitalizing and infinite, so undying, so self-perpetuating in its dynamics, in its aliveness, that you cannot even dream of the effect it can have on the individual. The whole of life must drastically change when this energy is made available — not here or there because of temporary openness to the power, but permanently through a changed personality that no longer cultivates attitudes which obstruct the power. This energy works according to its own built-in law. As you know, it is totally impersonal. When conditions prevail that are compatible with it, its flow will stream without obstruction. When conditions are incompatible, it is blocked. According to how the unblocking occurs, it will begin to flow again, often differently from what you might expect. The energy flows according to immutable, impersonal, built-in laws.

The second aspect of this power is its autonomous intelligence. When you comprehend this you can integrate with the intelligence and power. Once there is no longer unconscious material in you which you fear and shirk, you are truly independent of authority and help that comes from outside. Your dire need for such authority cripples you, for you possess everything you ever need within you. If you do make use of this power, there is nothing to fear anymore in your life.

The main topic of tonight's lecture is a specific obstacle to making use of this power. I have not spoken about this aspect in the past, except in a very cursory way. It is a specific soul movement, an emotional climate that I wish to describe. In order to be compatible with the universal power, it is necessary that the personality is in inner and outer relaxation. Such relaxation does not imply immobility, nor lack of energy. It is not the kind of false relaxation that does not breathe, move, respond. Quite the contrary. It expands and contracts like breathing — is rhythmic and relaxed, effortless yet vibrating with power, poised and calm, peaceful and dynamic. This state, when attempting to describe it, may easily be confused with indifference, passivity, or laxness. It is none of these. But it is entirely free from tension due to fear, pride, and selfwill.

People's habitual state is one of more or less taut intensity which is foreign to and incompatible with the universal power. This very intensity may cause, as a final effect, an outer immobility, paralysis, excessive passivity. These extremes are always the result of an intensity of soul-movement which must be dissolved.

The dualistic approach to life leads to a typical misunderstanding of intensity. The idea exists that the more intense you are, the more serious, responsible, and focused you are; conversely, the less intense, the more you are irresponsible, frivolous, and distraught. This is not true, my friends. In fact, it is just the opposite. Only when the psyche is in flux and not taut can the personality give its total attention to what it is doing, thinking, feeling, and experiencing. This means wholeness, integrity, undivided motives and attention. This state can be achieved only when there are no opposite forces dividing the inner person, hence no hidden fears. The more lightly psychic material flows, the more energy is available to invest into life, and the less exhaustion will follow when energy is expended. The unnatural tautness and intensity of a person's state of mind and emotions has become so much second nature that it has been accepted as natural. In fact, intensity is viewed as the desirable state, connoting all the spiritual qualities I described — qualities which are only realizable when the psyche is unintense.

Every neurotic attitude is a result of — and results in — artificial intensity, which is, half-consciously, deliberately cultivated and nursed. This cuts you off from the life-stream. The reason for cultivating this destructive attitude is in part the dualistic misconception mentioned before. Partly, its motive is childish self-importance, waiting to set oneself off from the rest, to draw attention to the self by making everything seem so important. It is what I often referred to as self-dramatization. This may happen even within oneself and never be displayed to others. In the deepest sense, all mental illness, all emotional imbalance is a result of a deliberate intensification of soul movement.

This is a very subtle process that becomes observable only when you focus your attention on it. You are so used to a state of inner tension that only repeated focusing of one's finely attuned perception will produce verification of this intensity, which will then be felt as something foreign and unnatural. This is the first step toward being able to let go of it. It will feel as though you are shedding a tightly constricting straightjacket in which you once lived. You will step out of it into a new freedom that may, at first, feel fraught with dangers. You will feel exposed without it, only to learn that all you expose yourself to is the revitalizing life-stream of the cosmos. You will then realize how hindering this tautness in you is. The artificiality of it creates an incompatibility between your inner personality and the universal power. It causes a deep indentation in the soul substance, which in a healthy state is unindented. You will even come to feel this indentation, which is connected with too tightly held convictions, too intense and exaggerated emotions, overreaction, as well as muscular tightness. All this prohibits the flow of the force. The universal power must enter into all levels of the personality for it to function well. If the mental realm is too intense in its tightly held views, the fresh flow of the life force is prohibited. If there is unreal emotional intensity, the life force cannot enter the emotional realm. If the physical realm is muscularly tense and taut, the life force cannot enter the physical system. Thus gradual illness, decay, and physical death come about.

You may remember that a few years ago I gave a lecture on the expanding, restricting, and static principle, describing the movements of the cosmos, the rhythmic breathing of everything alive. This cosmic breathing can only exist when there is no artificial intensity in the system. The indentation of soul substance through intensity causes paralysis on all levels. Resiliency must exist on all levels for you to be open to the universal power. It cannot exist when the flowing movements are made taut through intensely held opinions, emotions, and physical muscles, both outer and inner. It does not matter from where you start to look and become aware of your own intensity. If you follow through, you will dissolve the cramp such intensity causes on all levels.

The misconception that intensity is favorable also applies to pleasure. It is believed, half-consciously, half-unconsciously, that the more tautly intense the personality is, the greater the pleasure. In other words, intensity is not only supposed to connote seriousness and concentration, but also pleasure. This is not true at all. The lighter and easier the flow of the personality is — it may first appear almost as inconsequential — the greater the influx of the cosmic force and, hence, the more heightened the pleasure. Intensity is an ego-attitude and prohibits the letting go of the ego. Thus pleasure cannot be experienced to the extent that the ego holds on and obstructs the involuntary processes. Whoever takes his or her person and life too seriously is unable to partake of the cosmic flow. This is why the self-realized state, conveyed in human language, often sounds deceptive. Its properties may so easily be confused with truly undesirable and faulty attitudes. However, the lightness and lack of seriousness of a self-realized person is completely different.

Let us recapitulate: A relaxed, lighthearted, natural, undramatized, unintense personality is essential to look at the self in truth; to give undivided attention to whatever it does; to renew itself with energy so that more can be invested; to be whole in motive and in experience. This must not be confused with the numbness that is the result of a hidden layer of fear and resignation. The latter is dead, the former is vibrantly alive. Intensity and overindentation of soul substance are also confused with being alive, while letting oneself be in the natural state at first appears as if one didn't have sufficient life.

This applies to very subtle levels, my friends; it may not be easy for you to know what I am talking about. My words may seem obscure. It is therefore necessary that you listen with more than your intellectual ear. Furthermore, you must become observant of yourself until the intensity of your emotions, thoughts, and also your physical being becomes conscious and you begin to sense the unnaturalness of it, to feel that this is foreign to your innermost nature.

Total self-realization, therefore, brings laughter and humor and a lack of seriousness or heaviness. But this does not in the least connote an impairment of integrity, nor a half-heartedness or division or conflict in any of one's approaches to life. Quite the contrary. The intensity I discuss is always connected with impairment of integrity, dishonesty on some level, and division of motives and attention, as well as a refusal to give of oneself wholeheartedly. All these create the need, as it were, to be intense. This is very important to understand, my friends.

Integrity, honesty, and lack of self-deception in the way you give of your total self in whatever you do, combined with lightheartedness, are the properties that set up conditions compatible with the universal power. The cosmic power can then manifest in both its major aspects. It can flow and stream through your entire being, revitalizing all inner and outer organs, all facets of your person. In addition, the autonomous intelligence can manifest from deep within you, guiding, inspiring, and instructing you until your separated ego integrates with it, so that you become undivided and whole. The divine then lives in you and you live in it.

In the opposite state, on the dualistic plane, people are overserious, heavy and intense on the one hand, while they lack concentration, are divided in their motivations and desires and deceive themselves on the other. This imbalance must give way to balance on both sides. Where division of direction existed, the directions must unify; where conflicting desires existed, the stream of the desires must unify; where impairment of integrity and dishonesty existed, perhaps on the deepest hidden levels, honesty must be totally established; where an unwillingness to give of oneself to life existed, the willingness to invest of oneself must be established. Simultaneous with this reorientation of character and personality will be the possibility of letting go of the intensity and becoming light where heaviness once prevailed. You do not have to take life and yourself so seriously, in such a negative, despairing, heavy way. You can take life and the self seriously through the honesty you accord to both and through the sincerity of wanting to give as much as you wish to receive. Nothing will be so final, nothing has to be so fought for, or against. This lack of intensity, in the right way, makes the universal power available, while the intensity I discussed is a cramping-up that blocks off the universal power. The cramping is then often confused with seriousness, concentration, wholeness of purpose and being, as well as passionate pleasure. It is used as a substitute for real honesty with oneself and life, for undivided attention to every aspect of living. These afford the unintense state of being which is so pleasurable and so constantly self-renewing.

My friends, when you can come to this very decisive step in your growth, pay attention to it. Long before you are actually capable of totally letting go of your unhealthy intensity, the mere awareness and understanding of its significance will indicate your great progress. The moment that such an awareness is established, some of the constriction will loosen up and infuse you with new life energy.

The constriction resulting from the over-tension of soul substance makes you withdrawn, taut and immovable, no matter how frantic the artificial movements may be. The movement is an outer struggle. The intenseness of the outer tautness — whether it manifests in jerky movements or in paralysis — prohibits the inner powers of the life force from moving you.

Self-realization and unification with the power current of the cosmic stream means to go out, to move toward life and toward others. It is this outgoing movement people are so afraid of. You hold back, you shrink within yourself — and you think you are then secure. You are often unaware of this, too, for you may have assumed certain mannerisms that give you the illusion of being unafraid of entrusting yourself to this power that moves and unites you with life and others. Superficial devices may make you oblivious of the fact that you do not really want to show yourself as you are to others, but only with your masks and covers on. This is not honest contact with another person. The separateness causes misery, because it reflects the separateness between the outer and inner self, the self and others, the self and truthful, real attitudes to life, the self, and the life processes.

The universal power is utterly trustworthy. To distrust it is sheer folly, my friends. All you have reason to distrust is your fear of yourself, which only exists because there may still be an area or two about which you wish to deceive yourself. To the extent you determine no longer to do this, fear can be overcome. Your salvation will be found in the realization of your own cosmic powers.

Another obstruction is false goodness, which we might also term sentimentality. Easily overlooked, sentimentality is due to a combination of two trends. One is the innate and genuine desire to be outgoing, to love, to be truly sincere to the depths of your being, and to trust the universal powers. The other is your fear with its subsequent dishonesties, causing you to withhold yourself in a tight grip on your ego. The innate urge to let go of the outer self and entrust oneself to the cosmic, inner processes must always exist. It means truly to love. When fear, pride, and selfwill block off this direction, loving is impossible and outgoingness inverts. The tendency to go out, trustingly and lovingly, can never be squelched because it is an integral part of the nature of creation. It is life itself. You are a part of life and therefore must tend in the same direction. The conflict between the tendency to follow life and the fear to do so creates false goodness or sentimentality. False goodness results when real feelings are blocked. The personality feels guilty for hindering the natural flow of feelings, for having numbed them. The vibrancy of real feelings makes overintensity unnecessary, and it also knows no obligatory feelings — false goodness, sentimentality. It is free and spontaneous, since love has nothing whatever to do with duty. The vague emotions, on the other hand, if sincerely interpreted and put into words, would say, This is the way I ought to feel, but, unfortunately, I cannot genuinely do so.

False goodness stands more in the way of the realization of cosmic power than the admission that one is feelingless as yet where one wishes to feel, that one is loveless as yet where one might wish to love. Once these admissions are made, it is possible to utter the desire to be able to feel and love. In sentimentality, one lives under the illusion that one has already attained this state. After truthful acknowledgement of lovelessness and the desire to love, the next step is to find the part in you which says, But I do not want to feel, I do not want to love. As long as you are not connected with that part of yourself, you cannot be connected with the life processes, with reality, with universal power. For your resistance to feel and love is your present reality. Denying the present reality makes it impossible to experience a greater reality.

If you can ask at this phase of your pathwork, Where am I still involved in an obligatory goodness because I do not want to face my refusal to have real feelings? you can then proceed and question your deep innermost self as to why you refuse to do so. What is the fear and the reluctance? You can also begin to observe your tautness and an intensity that surpasses relaxed and natural attention, concentration, and fullness of experience. This intensity does not feel pleasant at all. It is problematic and leads to still greater problems in yourself and with your environment. Deep, full feelings do not have to be intense in this negative sense. Become aware of the difference.

Focus your attention on the subtle variations — where thoughts, feelings, and body are strained; where reactions exist that may not really be as strong as you now make yourself feel. Are your feelings really that intense? Consider the possibility that if they were left alone in their natural way, you might not feel that unpleasant intensity about this or that at all. Is this or that conviction really that strong? Do you have cause to be that convinced? Let the intensity of the conviction go and consider the possible opposite.

Next, become aware of the many little areas of tension in your body, of intensity of muscle tissues and your whole physical being. When you thus focus your attention on these areas, you may detect a reluctance to let go. What is this reluctance? In order to be unintense you need to have a certain amount of trust in what goes on with you and life, a trust which you don't have. The trust can only come when your self-trust becomes wholly justified. But even before this is the case, it is of great value to merely observe your reluctance to relax and know that tension and intensity are the immediate blocks to self-realization. Your reluctance is directly connected with a reluctance to see something in yourself. This, in turn, is directly responsible for your self-distrust, hence distrust of the creative powers.

If these areas are observed, you have truly approached the threshold to self-realization. Self-realization will become a gradual process, where you feel yourself flowing with the universe, in harmony with it; where you contact the deep intelligence in you without which nothing can be really successful. When this deep intelligence is left out, whatever you decide or do cannot possibly yield satisfactory answers or results.

When you first contact this intelligence and it manifests in you and you begin to see its utter wisdom and total rightness — the indivisible, unitive principle that has no dualistic conflicts of good versus bad — it is as if you had contacted a foreign power within yourself. As you do this more and more often, you overcome the ever-lessening misgivings to commit yourself to something you cannot quite trust. The integration between your conscious volitional self with the unvolitional processes of this vast power becomes more firmly rooted. Each step of the way, each new overcoming, proves to you how justified your trust in it is. With each such step you become more aware of the reality of this power and that the power is yours. How can you live in fear with this treasure? There are no longer insoluble problems. Since this power exists all through the universe, it is in you, and in everyone else. When this realization truly permeates and penetrates your whole being and your total understanding, brotherhood in the real sense is inevitable. Dislike is only a superficial factor, and you know that you are all united by this power. Conflict between self and others ceases. You become highly unique, yet like all others — in the best possible sense.

This is the way, my friends. Each time I have the privilege to talk to you and help you shed light on this path from a different angle, with a different consideration, I give you material which you have a choice to use as much as you desire.

Are there any questions in connection with this lecture?

QUESTION: Somehow, for the first time, your lecture upset me very much. I ask myself if this is so because I am near the point you are talking about and resist it?

ANSWER: Can you pinpoint what upset you in the lecture?

QUESTION: It has to do with the hope a human being could have...

ANSWER: It upsets you because you are not yet quite ready to trust it. It is upsetting in a sense that one knows these possibilities exist, and yet one does not trust oneself to go that way. This is why a large part of humanity violently subscribes to hopelessness, negativity, to the view that the world is chaotic and senseless. This is as much wishful thinking as the childish hope that a deity will do your salvation for you, or that you could be helped by following other people's advice and authority so that heavenly bliss will descend upon you in a life beyond. The adherence to an outer faith, no matter in what orthodox or unorthodox form, contains as much wishful thinking as hopelessness. The latter says, There is no need for me to do anything — face anything unpleasant, change my personality, or give up a destructive attitude I do not wish to shed — for it all makes no difference anyway.

If life makes no sense, if there is no rhyme or reason, if there is no evolution and continuum of all that lives, then, indeed, overcoming of character defects is unnecessary. Subscribing to a nihilistic philosophy of life, one can comfortably shirk unpleasant aspects of self-facing. This is why hopelessness is no less wishful escapism than the hope of being taken care of by another intelligence than one's own. In both instances it is possible to avoid facing the unflattering facets that destroy the ideals one holds about oneself. Both are two sides of the same coin: the rosy-colored future in a life hereafter, attained by adherence to an outer faith and obedience to laws and rules that come from outside, is fundamentally no different from the hopelessness of nihilism. Both avoid that which seems so difficult — honest self-facing.

QUESTION: What is the reason, and who bears the responsibility for the inability of the majority of humanity to perceive the cosmic force? Is it that most people are unaware of the cosmic force due to lack of development?

ANSWER: Yes, it is a lack of development, lack of awareness. Now, who bears the responsibility? Each individual, himself. The truth so difficult to face for so many people is that no one is ever responsible for anyone else. This may seem incomprehensible in view of certain historical events — or in view of superficial considerations, when judging according to appearances and in possession of fragmentary truths — but, in the last and deepest analysis, each individual entity is responsible for himself. Whatever happens in the course of a life offers the opportunity for unfoldment and expansion of awareness. It is also quite true that a child in the lowest grade of school cannot understand what an adult understands. So it is not a sin when a person is unable to perceive. It is different when someone has the capacity, but is unwilling to do so; when a person could unfold and expand, but deliberately hinders it by needless destructiveness and obstinacy.

Today, humanity as a whole is exactly where it must be, where it cannot help being, for it is the sum total of all the individuals, past and present, who inhabit this earth. Each individual has the opportunity to make every living second of life an occasion for expansion and growth. Anyone who seriously pursues this path can corroborate this. You can make whatever happens to you the greatest stepping stone, the best material for further growth, or you can allow it to influence you adversely. This applies not only to unhappy incidents, but equally to favorable events. They often retard growth as much as life's traumas do. Favorable events may encourage laziness, stagnation, and illusion. What you make of anything that happens determines whether it will help or hinder the expansion of perception. People have a tendency to consider outer conditions as the decisive factors in their lives rather than their attitudes. It is always one's attitudes that determine what is of real importance.

Cosmic forces can become available only through overcoming outer difficulties, which are the direct reflection of inner obstructions. Once you see this and know that you are responsible, you are on the road toward the realization of your real self — or, to put the same thing differently — the realization of the universal powers.

QUESTION: As a physician I ask if there is any way that the cosmic force can be applied in some way directly to human beings by physical means, by physical devices — not necessarily to solve the whole problem, but to help alleviate suffering and give direction. For instance, Wilhelm Reich's accumulator and certain other devices, as explained by Cayce and other people who work with this — are they really attempts in that direction?

ANSWER: Yes, they are. These — and many, many others, in many corners of the earth, which are not publicly known — are ways to channel the life force so it flows in humans where it should and could if an imbalance had not taken place in the system. It is possible to make the life force more available to the physical system through outer devices, thus opening the possibility for an inner penetration by the cosmic powers into the mental and emotional realms. However, it must be understood that no matter how much of it can be made available through physical devices, the essence of the life force is a mental, or a spiritual, power. Its availability depends on mental, or spiritual, attitudes. The effect of physical devices must, after a while, wear off if the mentality does not become compatible with the nature of this cosmic power. It can be used physically and temporarily, to a certain degree, but that direction has a limit.

The best way to use the physical approach is to help the personality reorient itself, which may give to many the necessary stamina they otherwise lack. A change of personality does not make people lose their uniqueness, but rather makes them more uniquely themselves by eliminating distortions, imbalance, destructiveness. The personality must become compatible with this power in order to no longer rely on devices from the outside, but to have the constant access to the inexhaustible source of this power deep within one's own being. As long as people working from the outside understand this, all is well, because then they will not be disappointed when the effect does not last.

May all of you make full use of what I have given you tonight, so that the wonder of the universe — of this life right here and now — can unfold itself for you. This will happen — not through shortcuts, illusions, wishful thinking, panaceas, but through decency and honesty with yourself and your life. Be blessed, all of you. Be in peace, be in God.

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 152

1996 Edition

May 7, 1967


Greetings, my dearest friends. May this lecture give you renewed insight and strength, so that your attempts to find yourself — who you are, where you belong, and how to fulfill yourself — become a little easier. May you find a new shaft of light through these words by truly opening up to new aspects of ideas you have perhaps heard before but that have not as yet become personally experienced truth for you.

The meaningfulness and fulfillment of one's life depend, in the last analysis, entirely on the relationship between your ego and the universal life principle — the real self as we also call it. If this relationship is balanced, everything falls into place. All these lectures deal with this topic, in one way or another, although I always try to discuss it in different ways in order to help you finally experience the truth of these words.

Let us try to define again what the universal life principle is and how it manifests in you. The universal life principle is life itself. It is eternal consciousness in its deepest and highest sense. It is eternal movement and pleasure supreme. Since it is life, it cannot die. It is the essence of all that breathes, moves, vibrates. It knows all, for it constantly creates and perpetuates itself, because it cannot be untrue to its own nature.

Every individual consciousness is universal consciousness — not just a part of it, for a part implies only a little — but wherever consciousness exists, it is the original consciousness. This original consciousness, or creative life principle, takes various forms. When in the process of individualization an entity passes the point of remembering its connection with its origin, a disconnection occurs. The particular consciousness continues to exist and to contain the universal consciousness, but it becomes oblivious to its own nature, its laws, and its potentials. This, in short, is the state of human consciousness as a whole.

When you begin to become aware of the life principle, you discover that it has always been there but you have not noticed it because you were under the illusion of existing separately. It is therefore not entirely accurate to state that the universal consciousness manifests. It would be more correct to say that you begin to notice it. You may notice the life principle's ever-present power as autonomous consciousness or as energy. The separated ego-personality possesses both, but the ego intelligence is by far inferior to the universal intelligence whether or not you can recognize it and put it to use. The same applies to the energy.

Consciousness and energy are not separate aspects of universal life; they are one. But some people tend to be more receptive to one or the other of them. Both are experienced as part of one's self-realization.

One of the universal life principle's basic characteristics, whether expressed as autonomous consciousness or as energy, is that it is spontaneous. It cannot possibly reveal itself through a laborious process or a cramped, overconcentrated state. Its manifestation is always an indirect result of effort. It occurs when it is least expected. By indirect I mean that you must, of course, make efforts. You must overcome resistance in order to face yourself in truth, admit your problems and shortcomings, and shed your illusions. This does require a great deal of effort.

You must summon all the strength and courage you can muster at all times. But the effort needs to be expended for the sake of seeing the truth about oneself, of giving up a specific illusion, of overcoming a barrier to wanting to be constructive rather than destructive, and not for an as yet theoretical process called self-realization that promises to feel good. If self-realization is arduously forced and looked for, it cannot come. It comes as a byproduct, as it were, although it is all that you can ever wish to attain.

Each step toward seeing the truth in the self, with a genuine desire for constructive participation in the creative process of life, frees the self. This is how the spontaneous processes begin. They are never consciously volitional. Hence, the greater the fear of the unknown, of letting go, of involuntary processes in one's own body, the less possibility is there of experiencing the spontaneous life principle in the self.

The life principle may take the form of a previously unimaginable wisdom in solving one's personal problems or in cultivating one's creative talents. Or it may manifest as a new vibrant way of experiencing life, giving a new flavor to all one is doing and seeing. The life principle is always safe, always holds out justified hope that will never be disappointed. There is never any fear in this new life experience. Yet it cannot be pushed and forced. It happens exactly to the degree that you no longer fear the involuntary processes.

Humanity finds itself in the paradoxical position of deeply yearning for the fruits of these involuntary processes, yet fearing and battling them. The conflict is terrible and tragic. It can be resolved only when you let go of the fear.

All psychological problems come, in the final analysis, from this much deeper existential conflict, far beyond the individual neuroses and personal difficulties the child experiences that later cause inner conflicts and misconceptions. All life moves toward resolving it. The precondition of such resolution is that first the individual neurotic conflicts must be found and understood. You need to learn to see and accept whatever is real in yourself, in others, in life. Honesty must prevail to stop one's attempts to cheat life, no matter how subtly. All character defects have to be removed. And when I say removed, I mean fully acknowledging and objectively observing them, without plunging into despair and denying the defects. This attitude in itself removes the defects infinitely more effectively than any other approach.

In other words, it is not a question of first having to remove the defects so that then something else can happen. It is a question of being able to quietly see oneself in the defect. Only then is one able to perceive the existential conflict between the ego and the universal consciousness. The spontaneously manifesting universal consciousness has nothing to do with religious precepts of a removed deity, or a life beyond this physical life. These are misinterpretations that have arisen as a result of sensing this universal life principle. When a person senses it and gropingly tries to convey this experience to those whose ego is still in conflict with the creative life principle, misinterpretations do occur. They must alienate you from your immediate self and from your practical daily life.

People who are frightened of these alienating processes remove them by creating a vague theory. They wish to find a compromise between their yearning, that comes from the deep sense of the present possibilities available to them, and their fear. This compromise exists in every form of formalized religion that removes God from the self and from daily life, that splits human nature into the spiritual and the physical being. Thus total fulfillment is removed from the now into a life after death. All such views and approaches to life are nothing but a compromise between what one senses could exist and what one fears. This fear goes beyond the neurotic fears that stem from misconceptions and personally experienced traumas.

What is this basic fear of letting go of the outer ego to let the universal processes unfold and carry you? It is the misunderstanding that giving up the ego means giving up existence. In order to get a little better understanding of this problem, let us consider how the ego formed itself out of universal life.

Individualization is an integral aspect of the universal life force. Life is always moving, reaching out, expanding and contracting, finding new areas of experience and branching into new territories. Creative life is no different. Thus it finds forever new ways to experience itself. As an individual consciousness separates itself further and further from its original source, it forgets its essence and becomes oblivious of its own principles and laws until it seems to be a totally separate entity. Individual existence is therefore associated only with separate existence. Giving up the ego must then appear to the individual as an annihilation of its unique personal existence.

This is the current condition of human beings. You live under the illusion that life, the sense of I am, can be found only in your separate existence. This illusion has brought death into the human realm, for death is nothing but this illusion being carried to its final absurdity.

The realization of the illusory character of a separate ego-existence is an extremely important step in the evolution of humanity. Any work of self-realization brings the issue into very clear focus. To the extent you look at the immediately available truth of yourselves as individuals, you will find that you and the creative life principle are one. You will then find that everything I say here is realizable and ascertainable right here and now. It is not a theoretical teaching that you can, at best, consider intellectually. The more you look at yourself in truth and shed your illusions about yourself, the more you will realize that individual existence is not surrendered when the involuntary processes of the creative life principle are allowed to take over and integrate with the ego functions.

Some of my friends have begun to experience the immediacy of this greater life more and more frequently. They experience a renewal of energy and find, paradoxically, that the more they give of their energy, the more renewed energy they generate within. For that is the law of the universal life principle. The separated state operates dualistically; it seems logical that the more one gives, the less one has and the more depleted one becomes. This comes from the illusion that the outer ego is all there is to individuality. This is the root of the fear to let go of all tight ego defenses.

By the same token, those who begin to experience these powers and energies also begin to notice the influx of an inspirational intelligence that seems to be much vaster than anything they know in their outer intellect as opposed to inner wisdom. Yet it is essentially their best self. It first seems to be a foreign power, but it is not. It only seems so because these channels had been clogged up due to one's ignorance of their existence and personal little lies and self-deceptions. This vaster intelligence manifests as inspiration, guidance, and a new form of intuition that comes not in a vague feeling, but in concise words, in definite knowledge, graspable and translatable into daily living.

The discovery of this new life reconciles the apparent opposites of being an individual and being at one with all others, an integral part of a whole. These are no longer irreconcilable opposites, but interdependent facts. All such opposites, all apparently mutually exclusive alternatives that cause so much heartache to humanity, begin to fall into place when the ego connects with universal life.

When I speak of letting go of the ego, I do not mean its annihilation, or even disregarding its importance, or letting it fall by the wayside. The ego has made itself a separated part of the universal life which can be found deep within the self. It is immediately accessible if so desired, when the ego is ready to reconnect itself to its original source. When the ego becomes strong enough to take the risk to trust faculties other than its limited conscious capabilities it will find a previously undreamed-of new security.

The fear of this new step stems from the idea that the ego will be crushed, it will fall into nothingness and cease to exist. This fear appears to be alleviated by holding on to unmoving, petrified psychic substances. The unmoving seems safe; the moving, perilous. To want to hold on makes life scary, for life is eternally moving. When you find that the movement is safe because it carries you, you have found the only real security there is. All other security — trust in, or leaning on the static — is illusory and breeds forever more fear.

The principle is the same as the one that moves the planets, which do not fall into space. At the core of the human predicament there always lies the feeling, If I do not hold on to myself I endanger myself. And once you are conscious of this feeling, you possess an important key, for you can consider the possibility that it is an error. There is nothing to fear; you cannot be crushed or annihilated. You can only be carried, as planets are carried in space.

As I so often say, the state of humanity's present consciousness creates the world you live in, including its physical laws. You are so used to putting effect first and cause later. This is a result of your dualistic state of mind, which is unable to see the whole picture and tends to think in an either/or manner. You are not relegated to this sphere; rather, this sphere, with all it contains, is an expression of humanity's overall state of consciousness. One of the physical laws expressing this state of consciousness is the law of gravity. It is a special law that pertains only to your dualistic consciousness. The law of gravity parallels, or expresses on the physical level, the emotional reaction to and the apprehension of falling and crushing when the ego is given up as the sole form of individual existence. Spheres of consciousness that have transcended the dualism of this plane have different physical laws, corresponding to their overall consciousness. Human science, even from the merely materialistic point of view, shows this to be so. The science of space proves this. In outer space there is no gravity. Yours is not the last and only reality.

This analogy is more than merely symbolic. It is a sign that could widen your horizon in thinking about, and inwardly experiencing, new boundaries of reality, thus diminishing your fear and your illusory, isolated, ego-existence.

How to apply this, my friends, to where most of you are in your search for your real self? This immediately connects with looking at the various layers of your consciousness. The more you succeed in making previously unconscious material conscious and consequently reorienting the faulty reflexes of previously unconscious material, the closer you come to the reality of the universal life principle within you. The universal life principle then becomes freer to disclose itself, and you become freer from fears, shames, and prejudices, so you can open yourself up to its availability. Anyone can corroborate that the more courage is summoned to look at the truth of oneself and nothing but the truth, the easier it becomes to connect with a vaster, safer, more blissful life within. The more connected you become with something that removes all uncertainty and all conflict, the more you will feel a security and an ability to function that you never knew could exist within you. Here are functions of power, of energy; functions of intelligence that resolve all conflict and furnish solutions to apparently unsolvable problems. All ifs and buts in daily practical living are loosened up — not through outer magical means, but through your increasing capacity to cope with everything that happens as an integral part of yourself. Moreover, you develop an increased ability to experience pleasure, as you are meant to. To the extent you have disconnected yourself, you must yearn for this way of living.

A few years ago I used the following terms to describe certain overall, fundamental levels of the human personality: the higher self, meaning the real potential in everyone, the universal life in every human core; the lower self, made up of all your deceits, your character defects, your illusions, pretenses and destructiveness. Then I discussed a third component which I first called the mask self and later the idealized self. It is based on a pretense of being what one wants to be, or what one feels one ought to be in order to be liked and approved of.

During our discussions we have come face to face with many aspects of this triad. Once I spoke of a frequent phenomenon, that you are often ashamed of your higher self — of the best in yourself. For many personality types it seems shameful to display one's best, one's most loving and generous impulses; it seems much easier and less embarrassing to show one's worst.

Today I can speak a little more about this topic on a deeper and more subtle level. For this is a very important point, immediately connected with the fear of exposing the real self. Some of my earlier lectures merely described certain features of one kind of personality on a relatively superficial level. The specific personality I then discussed feels this shame primarily about good qualities, about giving and loving. Such people believe they give into society's demands and they thereby lose the integrity of their individuality. They fear their submission to and dependency on the opinions of others and therefore feel ashamed of any genuine impulse to please others. They therefore feel more themselves when they are hostile, aggressive, cruel.

All human beings have a similar reaction to their real self. This does not apply only to their actual goodness and loving generosity, but also to all other real feelings and ways of being. This strange shame manifests as embarrassment and a sense of exposure about the way one really is. It makes one feel as though one were naked and exposed. This experience can be registered by everyone — and it is not the shame of one's deceits and destructiveness, nor of one's compliance. This shame is on an entirely different level, and of a different quality. The only way I can describe it is to say that what one really is feels shamefully naked — regardless of your good or bad thoughts, feelings, or behavior. This is extremely important to comprehend, for it explains how artificial levels are created. These artificial levels do not exclusively result from misconceptions in the usual sense. When the naked core of oneself, as one is now, is exposed, the personality is less frightened of annihilation or danger, but more ashamed. The element of danger comes in when the ego yields to the involuntary processes. The shame is felt most acutely when it comes to being what one is in the moment.

Because of this feeling, people pretend. This is a different kind of pretense than the one that covers up lack of integrity, destructiveness, and cruelty. This different kind of pretense is deeper, more subtle. You may pretend things you actually feel. You may really feel love, but to show this real love feels naked, so you create a false love. You may really feel anger, as you are now. But this real anger feels naked, so you create false anger. You may really feel sadness, but you feel mortified to acknowledge this sadness, even to yourself, so you create false sadness, which you can easily display to others. You may really experience pleasure, but this, too, is humiliating to expose, so you create false pleasure. This even applies to elements like confusion and puzzlement. You intensify and dramatize your emotions, as I explained in the last lecture, and so you falsify them.

Because the real feeling seems so naked and exposed, so you create a false one. This falsification functions like a protective garment which no one but one's deepest, usually unconscious self knows of. This protective garment anesthetizes one to the vibrancy and buoyancy of life. All such imitations build a screen between you and your life center. This, too, separates you from reality, for it is the reality of your own being that you cannot stand and feel compelled to imitate, thereby counterfeiting your very existence. The moving stream of life seems dangerous, not only as far as your safety is concerned, but also as it affects your pride and dignity. But all this is stark and tragic illusion. As you can only find true safety when you unite with the source of all life within you, so you can find true dignity only when you overcome the shame of being real — whatever this may mean at the moment.

Sometimes annihilation seems a lesser evil than the strange sense of shame and the exposure of one's real being. When you recognize this shame and do not push it away as inconsequential, you take a tremendous step, my friends. Feeling this shame is the key to finding a numbness that causes despair and frustration, because it leads to self-alienation and disconnectedness of a particular kind. It is not translatable into rational language because there is nothing you can possibly say in mere words that distinguishes the real from the false — only the flavor of experience and the quality of being are different. The imitation feelings are often subtle and so deeply ingrained that they have become second nature. Therefore it takes a deeply sensitive letting go, letting yourself be, and letting yourself feel, as well as wanting to be discerning about your discoveries. All this is necessary before you become acutely aware of the apparent exposure and nakedness the real feelings cause in you. The subtle imitation not only reproduces other, or opposite feelings from those you register, but also, and just as frequently, the identical ones. Their intensification then serves to make the false appear real.

You first come in contact with the center of the universal life that you are only when you are real — whatever this may mean now. But before this experience is possible, you need to encounter the phenomenon of shame and nakedness. When you meet this momentary real self, it is far from perfect. This is not a dramatic experience — yet it is crucial. For what you are now contains all the seeds you will ever need in order to live deeply and vibrantly.

You are already this universal life power. Every conceivable possibility is contained in it. What you are now is not shameful because of your faults; it is much more shameful, as it seems to you, because of its immediate, existential reality that seems so naked. When you have the courage to be your real self, a new approach to your own inner life can begin, after which all pretenses fall by the wayside.

This applies to the obvious and crude pretenses that can usually be seen by all but oneself, as well as to the subtle pretenses I just described. These stand between the ego and the universal self. They form a thin but firm screen that blocks out the life-giving force. They are responsible for your alienation from the universal life principle. They create the apparently dangerous and unbridgeable chasm between the ego and the universal power. They are responsible for your illusory fear and shame. This shame is just as basic as all the fears responsible for the misconceptions and the splitting of the individual. It originates from some fears and creates others, but it is not exactly the same as the fears themselves.

The shame of one's own nakedness in showing one's self, as it is in the now, is explained by the deep symbolism of the story of Adam and Eve. The nakedness of reality is paradise. For when that nakedness is no longer denied, a new blissful existence can begin — right here and now, not in another life in the beyond. But it takes some acclimatizing after one has become aware of the shame. It takes a path within the path to become more conscious of the ingrained but subtle habits with which one covers up one's inner nakedness. How easy it is to revert back to the shame out of long-standing habit! But once you pay attention to it and elicit the powers available in you, again and again, so that you notice your shame and your hiding and learn to uncover yourself, you will finally step out of your protective shell and become more real. You will be the naked you, as you are now — not better than you are, not worse than you are, and also not different from the way you are. You will stop the imitation, the counterfeit feelings and ways of being, and venture out into the world the way you happen to be.

Are there any questions in connection with this lecture?

QUESTION: How can you determine whether your feelings are real or put on?

ANSWER: The only one who can determine it is you, by seriously probing and, first of all, considering the possibility that your feelings may be put on, and by not being frightened of this. For people are terrified of the thought that their feelings are fake — even in a subtle way. They fear that if these feelings are not real then they have no feelings. They fear their own emptiness. And this fear is devastating. It exerts a subtle pressure to go on pretending. But there is always a point inside where you say, No, I do not want to feel. Whether this stems from childhood and personal traumatic experiences, or connects with the deeper human problem applying to all individuals that I discussed in this lecture, there must always be a resolve not to feel. This resolve is often totally unconscious, so that one is disconnected from it and helpless about the result — which is, of course, no feelings. The terror is infinitely greater when the conscious self that wants feelings is ignorant of the side of the self that fears feelings. The terror of being unable to feel cannot be compared to any other. It is therefore of enormous help to realize that no one is really without feelings and these feelings cannot ever die permanently. Life and feelings are one; where there is one, there must be the other, even if one is inactivated at the moment. Knowing this makes it possible to search within and ask, Where have I decided not to feel? The moment you become acutely aware of your fear to feel, you will cease to fear that you have no feelings. It is then possible to reactivate your feelings with the help of reason, through realistic and rational evaluation of the circumstances.

I have given you a lot to think about. This is quite a bit of material, which you can fruitfully use in the continuation of your pathwork.

Be blessed, every one of you. May your endeavors succeed to become real, to find the courage to be nakedly real without any false covers. You cannot help but succeed if you really want to. Those who do not move and grow and liberate themselves do not want to — and it is important to know this — and find in you the inner voice that refuses to move. May all your false layers fall away because this is what you really want and decide. You will then discover the glory of living. Be in peace, be in God!

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 153

1996 Edition

June 2, 1967


Greetings, my dearest friends. May you once again find blessings through the help, strength, and enlightenment that these lectures can give you. This last lecture of the season will be a summary and will also shed light on the next step you need to take — if not immediately at least as preparation — in understanding where you are going and why you are stuck in certain ways. While rounding up the season behind us, it will also anticipate the work in our next season together. An attempt to understand — not only with your mind, but with your heart — will make what is to come on your path to self-discovery a lot easier.

To summarize once again, and perhaps with a different approach, the meaning of self-realization: self-realization means to bring out into reality all dormant potentials. It means to integrate the ego with as yet involuntary processes. The ego consists of the outer reasoning faculty and the will faculty. The involuntary processes comprise feelings, intuition and, what is more, certain manifestations which operate according to the most meaningful and lawful foundations of life. One

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