Even if one has little interest in organized religion, one can still have a longing for the atmosphere that can exist in a church – a feeling of awe standing in front of something that is higher. Is the experience of church really a true thing?
The Guide: The place is really only deep in yourself. That’s the real place where you find God – not in any particular building or represented in particular edifices or pictures or symbols. It is only in you, in your way, in the way you experience life, in the consciousness that evolves out of the depths of your being that make the experience of God a living reality that permeates your everyday life, that does not separate it from everyday, so-called worldly life.
Now, if anyone has a need to go to a certain place because he or she hears nice music and there is quiet, there is nothing to say against that. But beware of externalizing religion in that way, because that too may lead toward a way of error and may encourage the weakest points in a person.
Going to a church is not a necessity. Some people may feel more inspired there, but it certainly is not a prerequisite for finding the truth of the divine spirit within yourself.
The Catholic Church has managed to survive until the present day, while the gnostic religions, which are more in accord with the Pathwork teachings, have not survived. Why is this?
The Guide: Outer power may often bring outer success. Maybe just because more truth was rooted in certain gnostic religions, there existed less of a power drive in those who practiced them. But this does not mean that the inner power of truth did not actually bring more success in the real sense, even though it was less noticeable.
The outer manifestation may, once again, lead you to believe that this is unjust. It is the same with an individual. You may ask why certain people are outwardly so successful, while they are really selfish and very much lacking in maturity and love. Here we have to agree on what being successful really means.
A businessman, outwardly successful, powerful, and financially secure, may be full of inner unrest and unhappiness, guilt and anxiety that you never know about, because he may put up a very convincing front. Therefore, he is not successful in the sense of what really counts: his happiness, his inner security, his inner peace.
By the same token, the powerful church you mention is successful outwardly, but is not remotely so successful inwardly. The neglected truth teachings of gnostic religions may outwardly appear weak because there are few proponents of them that you know of. But inwardly, there abides a strength which you may not see or know of at all. You may completely ignore the strong influence it has on the cosmic forces, an infinitely stronger influence of the few than of the many, notwithstanding the extent of the outer power a successful religion may have.
Here again, it is a question of training one’s awareness to perceive the inner content of something, and not to focus on the outer manifestation. From that point of view, success is not where you see it. Even though many people may be adherents of that church, there are many more who are not.
Many of those who are adherents are so in a half-hearted way, or in a very superficial way, not really understanding what it is all about. That is not strength, and therefore such a church is not successful.
At the same time, the few people who concentrate on the teachings of truth without overt power, in whatever form it may appear at different periods of history, leave an imprint in the universe that cannot be measured by the human eye. The efforts and understanding of a handful of such people are more important for universal success in its real sense than thousands of people going to a church.
So this is the reason for the decline and virtual disappearance of gnostic religion?
The Guide: It has not disappeared. It has reappeared, and it is constantly reappearing in different forms. But the fact that it has to reappear proves that all truth always tends to be diluted and distorted by the masses who are not ready to understand it. So it thins out as the few who do understand it leave this earth and leave the heritage of such teachings in the hands of those who are often full of goodwill and intention, but cannot handle it in the right way.
As time goes on, the truth becomes more and more rigid and therefore untrue. New channels have to be created, and the very same truth appears again in a new form, perhaps adapted to the civilization and characteristics of the particular period.
There was no time in history when truth did not come through among certain people. It was taught and it spread, but the majority of humanity was still too immature to use it inwardly. By making outer rules and regulations, they imposed restrictions that distorted it. If you study the history of religion closely, you will see that all religions, including the traditional ones, contained the life-spark of truth. But as they spread, the truth faded out and they became religions of letters instead of heart and soul.
Humanity does not understand the essence of truth or religion because it does not want to understand. It wants to lean on dogma and rule, so as not to have to think, to face, and to make self-responsible decisions. In that way, truth is perverted. This has happened since the beginning of time and will continue for some time to come. But as time goes on, each new manifestation of truth penetrates a little deeper and among more people whose souls are evolved enough to yearn for it.
You will see that the truth is understood by many more people today than a few hundred years ago, or even only fifty years ago, even though not always in exactly the same terms. The spreading of certain sciences and of psychology has contributed greatly to this understanding. The essence and root of psychology, if you go deep enough, will always get to the psyche and reveal the essential spiritual truths, as proclaimed by the few sages at all times.