105 QUESTION: Could I ask you a question about man’s development, as you talked about it last time and this time, too? It seems to me that our Western culture suffers from holding onto the intellect and to the will, instead of approaching the special state of being. And if that is so, what can we do to counteract this tendency in education, say, or in cultural life?
ANSWER: It is quite true that this is a general tendency, as you all know. What you can do? There is only one answer. At the risk of being again repetitious, I have to say once more, there is no other way than cultivating self-awareness in the way you are doing.
The more you mature emotionally, the more awareness do you gain, the more this will emanate from you and, in some way, it will find expression spontaneously, creatively, in your activities, whatever they are. Whether you are a doctor, a teacher or a shoemaker, makes no difference. You will influence your surroundings, not so much by what you say or preach, but by your mere being, by your emanations.
Each individual going through such a path of self-finding, is bound to contribute to this great change. The world cannot be changed unless a sufficient number of people are doing just what you are doing. But every single human being helps toward that end. No one’s efforts at self-honesty are beneficial only for himself. Incidentally, this change has begun to take place already, here and there.
A group like yours contributes more than vast masses of people who preach doctrines, who force away the emotions, who feel they must be good, while their true state of being is removed from such goodness. A group of only five people, who face reality as it happens to be now, contributes more to the entire world, not only to your Earth sphere, but to all spheres, than the best intended teachings and ideals that reach merely the surface intellect.
QUESTION: When we are angered or disturbed by the perversity, selfishness or cynicism of others, or disturbed by corruption in high places, is this a fault? Does the light on the Path make us blind to the wrongs in the social organism of which we are all members? What should be our attitude towards social problems?
ANSWER: If you consider your question, you will discover the emotional dependency and moralizing character underlying it. Moralizing with yourself – What should be our attitude? Is it a fault? – and moralizing with others. As I often say, you cannot find any true answer as long as the underlying attitude is thus colored.
No, you certainly need not be blind because you are on a path of self-finding. You cannot be. Condoning and blindness to what exists is not the answer. The answer is not a lazy acceptance of evil. But neither is the answer a rebellion against evil. You cannot transform it when you rebel. You can, at best, make certain superficial reforms that have no solid ground and are therefore bound to end in an equally wrong opposite – and so become evil all over again.
The productive approach would be, after discovering and removing the self-moralizing attitude, to ask yourself, “Is my anger truly an objective one? Or am I involved?” You will then perceive the difference between objective and subjective anger. The former does not have an urgency, it is detached, it does not make you restless and frustrated.
Whenever you feel frustrated and the anger personally hurts, it always hides something that you have not faced in yourself. This lack of peace, this disturbance, is always a sign of subjective anger, which is a sign of not being aware of what is really going on in you.
I have said it so very often and have to repeat it again, no collective means can ever, ever really, change the world, unless it is sustained by inner growth and transformation which is the product of self-awareness. As long as man does not face his own injustice, greed, selfishness, one-sidedness, pride, fears, all on a deeply hidden psychological level, these same attitudes are bound to continue in the world, regardless of what social reforms are instituted.
Social reforms are the product of man, they are maintained by man. If man generally hides within, what outwardly he wants to disappear, it is a discrepancy that can have no hope of finding realization. But this does not mean one should not do what one can in order to eliminate wrong or evil. Only, you should understand what is really necessary in order to change the world. As long as you are at war with yourself, outer war is a result. As long as you are inwardly greedy and selfish and do not even know it, outer greed and selfishness cannot be successfully eliminated.
If you truly want to contribute to the good of general conditions, apart from whatever you may be able to do in deeds, try to find these similar conditions within yourself that you so strenuously object to outwardly. They may exist in a much more subtle or modified form, but essentially they must be there. When you become aware of them, know that you, and millions of others like you, are responsible for the ills of the world. No guilt, no self-flagellation, only the recognition of a fact.
Outer reforms, regardless how efficient, will work lastingly only when more people do what I advise you, my friends, to do. When you look at history, you will see that this is so. Reforms and general improvements exist in a genuine and lasting way exactly to the degree that man has become more self-responsible, more aware of himself, more mature. But wherever social reforms were way ahead of man’s inner growth, they may have a temporary effect, only to evaporate or to end up in an equally evil extreme on the other side of the scale.
The world, in general, is nothing more than the outcropping of the individuals, of their inner state, their present inner truth. I said this already years ago. Perhaps now you will be better able to verify it. Such an imbalance of going from one extreme to the other, in the attempt to eliminate an evil, is exactly what happens in the individual soul.
When man attempts to change superficially, he swings from one extreme to another. When he adopts one rule, good as it may be, in exchange for another he does not like in himself, he is not profound. He has not attempted to investigate what he really feels. This, as you encounter so often in this work, is what you experience in the world at large.
QA115 QUESTION: Sometimes you feel life is wonderful and you have everything you want and then all of a sudden, the will goes down and you feel just the opposite.
ANSWER: Isn’t human nature a conglomeration of many aspects, the healthy and the sick? You are not merely healthy, nor are you merely sick. You are a combination of both. You have your healthy and constructive attitudes that manifest at certain periods of life, and then life is good and wonderful and worthwhile. And then you have your distorted and your erroneous and your deviated aspects in yourself. And when they come to the fore through certain rhythms that occur in everyone’s life, then life will be that for you. There you have very good proof of the truth of this theory.
QUESTION: But it’s so hard when you are down to catch all those wrong conclusions, all the contortions – it’s almost impossible. Then if you’re happy, you don’t do it enough because you’re happy.
ANSWER: Well it is not impossible, my dear, because the more you advance on this Path the more it will become a necessity – just in the negative times – to work all the harder. It will be the same necessity for the civilized person if, through some circumstances and hard labor, he gets dirty through physical work he has to do. He will have the immediate urge to take a bath. A very primitive person who is ignorant of hygiene will go around for weeks, months on end, without doing so and may not even know why he feels more and more uncomfortable, and more and more ill at ease with himself.
Until perhaps someone points out to him, “You know, it is no wonder you feel uncomfortable – you ought to take a bath.” But he will be shocked, and it will seem like a very disagreeable thing to do for him. And he may battle against such a suggestion. He feels he should feel good without going through this hardship. It is the same thing with the psyche and the emotions.
The average person in your civilization – not even all, but many people, let us say – when something hurts them, they go to a physician and the physician takes care of it. And their health is reestablished before great harm is done, even though it may, at the moment, be a hardship to do so. But the primitive person, the ignorant person, the childish person, will not want to do so. He expects that he should feel good without his taking any effort. And it is the same with the psyche.
The more “civilized” your emotional life (put this in quotes – I use that in the same sense as the example: the more emotionally and spiritually “civilized” you become), the less long will you be capable of letting negative moods rise. You will instantly say, “Well, if I am in this mood, there is something at this moment I do not see.” That does not mean you have to see and understand instantly all your deepest innermost problems. That is not necessary.
It would be sufficient if you see certain reactions that have occurred within these last few days when you had this mood, and which you have pushed out of the way because it was uncomfortable to look at. And if you see that and face that, you will not only free yourself of the mood and have a feeling of intense meaningfulness of life because you have taken these signposts and evaluated them, but you will at the same time gain a better glimpse that leads you nearer toward the basic problems that unnecessarily burden your life.
If every day you declare what I said before – you meditate in that sense about your resistance; if you really ask yourself, “Why is my mood like that? Why am I really depressed? I want to face the truth. I do not want to push it off,” and then let it ride without pushing it out of sight, but without being tense about finding an answer from your intellect; if you just alert inwardly, things will come.
If you are willing to pay the price by the labor of this self-observation, you will make every negative mood a real, important threshold – a stepping stone – as I so often said in the past. This negative event that has caused your mood will really become something you bless.
This is getting more and more on the Path. If you are on the Path, this will be more and more the case. And therefore you are less often exposed to moods that control you. That way you will take control in your hands, instead of being controlled.
QA118 QUESTION: A year ago, I told you that when I wake up in the morning, I wake with many dreams that don’t make any sense. I asked you about it, and you told me that it could be very beneficial. So now I get the fruit from that. So why didn’t you answer my question at that time?
ANSWER: Would you have been able to make use of it then? You know very well you didn’t. You had to come to it yourself. You had to find it, and I answered the question in the only way that it could be beneficial. “Do not disregard it; it will become beneficial when you are ready for it, when you are ripe for it.” And this is the way it happened. If I would have interpreted these things for you, it would have meant nothing for you.
You know there are certain things I can point the way to, but other things if I point them out and explain them, it might even close the door further than open it, because when you are completely unready, these are, at best, only words that do not reach your inner experience.
But when you find it from yourself and experience it as a truth of yourself – not because it has been suggested to you, not because you obey – then it has a meaning, it has a significance. Then it is really something that strengthens you. This is always the aim on this Path. So whatever I say is only to lead you to that end. Sometimes I can point out more, but not at all times.
QA130 QUESTION: Are all acts of self-purification accompanied by suffering?
ANSWER: No. It does not always have to be suffering. It depends on the attitude you have toward yourself. The belief that this is so will then make it more likely that you cannot grow without suffering. But if you realize it is possible to grow and purify yourself and shed your problems without suffering – or with relatively minor and temporary discomfort – then this will be possible.
If you learn, with the proper guidance and help, to approach yourself in that way, you will not have to suffer necessarily. I would advise in such a case a meditation, and this may be useful for many of my friends here, in which you say daily, “I wish to grow. It is not necessary that I suffer. I want to look at myself in absolute candor and truth. This does not have to hurt. On the contrary. It will be a liberation.
“It does not need to be suffering in order to grow. I wish this growth. If there is a temporary suffering, it is only because of my misunderstanding. And since I wish to come out of this misunderstanding as soon as possible, this discomfort will be short-lived.” Such a meditation will help tremendously in this respect and will therefore reduce resistance. I strongly advise such a meditation.
QUESTION: Would that wrong attitude within me account for the extreme ups and downs, particularly the downs, in the cycles that I go through?
ANSWER: Yes, that has also something to do with it. But in your case, it is even more than just the idea that you cannot grow unless you suffer. You are so filled with the idea that suffering must be in any way. Therefore the depressions and the down curves are so heavily experienced, because when you forget the life you have glimpsed in the first steps of liberation on your path, you are right back in that dismal climate of, “There is only suffering in any alternative I choose.” Therefore, since you believe this, it is so.
But now, since you have found and made a step forward again in the right direction, your meditation must be in the sense of, “It is not true that the only alternative, either this or that, is suffering. Life is full of the possibility of happy growth, happy expansion, happy experience. I was mistaken in my view; and now I accept the truth.” And therefore the suffering will cease.
QUESTION: Twice in my life – once for about four months and once about three months – I’ve gone into a state of tremendous feeling of freedom and relief and joy. I never quite understood why, because it just came and then it just went. But just recently, since I’ve been working this way, I’ve had glimpses of it. It’s almost as though a gas bomb exploded in my chest and then fumes of joy came up on me. It’s almost like something concrete that I can feel. I wondered if it was a sort of release of psychic energy, because I was clearing certain things out, or what could it be?
ANSWER: I’ll explain the difference. The period of liberation and joy you experienced before were a result of former efforts in this life – perhaps even former lives. This may often happen also on this Path with any of you who makes your efforts now – you will, perhaps, sometimes only years later feel the result of these efforts. The cause and effect are not always that close together.
When you are not aware of the cause of the momentary effect, the feeling may be wonderful, but at the same time you feel it has nothing to do with you. It is almost as though it is bestowed upon you from outside, and therefore you become a little bit helpless and hope for the best that it will happen again. At the same time, you fear that it will be taken away from you again, as though someone else gives it to you. But it was something you have done, efforts you have made in the past.
While this time, you could directly connect it with the effort – you understood directly the relationship between your liberation at this point and insights you have gained. Therefore there is a greater feeling of self-confidence involved, because you establish the connection between your effort and the sense of liberation.
QA132 GUIDE COMMENT: May all of you find here or there a little key, a clarification, a helpful hint so as to shed light on your way – in your struggle to reach the light of truth – to understand your life in relationship to the universe, to understand yourself and therefore life.
The only way this can be done is through the courage of facing the truth in yourself. You know that, my friends, this is not always easy or it does not always seem easy. In reality, it is the simplest thing in the world. It is the great simplicity that makes it so obscure, that makes it seem so far to reach the harmony and the dynamic peace of real living.
You struggle in the artificiality of the complication, and I try to help you out from the artificiality into the naturalness, from the complicatedness into the simplicity.
QA167 QUESTION: I have been working on a problem with my father that has come up before but in a different form – and it’s really back now. I see that I’ve basically given up my integrity as a male because of my image of him. But I find that when I talk about this, instead of getting a feeling of release that I’d always thought would come from a recognition, I get very irritable. I feel that my mind just doesn’t want to deal with this problem at all. Could tell me something that would help me come to terms with this?
ANSWER: Yes. The release comes only when one has the full and total understanding of a problem. When the understanding is only partial and when there are still some misconceptions attached to it – and therefore inner resistance and fear – then the inner battle continues. In your particular case, this exists for several reasons.
Reason number one is that when you feel a violation of integrity due to giving up some of your own inner strength and masculinity, it is because you exaggerate the meaning of it. You fear that this means you are no man, period. it is as though this is a final and shameful and terrible thing.
In fact, you have battled against this recognition so long in your consciousness because you have secretly believed that the truth – which is that you are really no man and you just pretend to be one – must not be known. And of course this is not true. It is only true to a partial degree and it has none of the connotation you emotionally hold true.
In ignorance, you have forfeited some of your natural masculine integrity – ignorantly, due to misconception – but that does not mean you can’t now take full possession of it any time. The moment you approach it from that point of view, the resistance will lessen.
Now, another reason is that you also unconsciously believe that integrity means something is expected and demanded of you that is absolutely impossible for you to ever do or live up to. There is, of course, a connection between the first and the second.
That is why you did what all human beings do where they feel they cannot deal with their own secret shames. They let it rest; they do not look at it. They pretend over it something else and hope they can live their life successfully without ever confronting this issue.
I would say, therefore, that you develop more and more that strength by saying, “I will look at the truth, whatever the truth may be. I will look at it. It is not true that I cannot be fully the best that my potentials in me express. I can be that, but I can be that only when I see how and where I am doing it without self-rejection and self-judgement.”
Your self-rejection and self-judgement creates the irritation. Your shame and a feeling that it cannot ever be altered, and the hopelessness about it, creates the irritation. These are misconceptions. The more you look at it, the more you will see there is a way out. You do have many ways out. Do you understand?
QUESTION: I think so, but just to clarify one small thing – when you said I have many ways out, I assume that doesn’t mean many actions which I could take, which would bring me out.
ANSWER: No, I do not mean anything as far as action is concerned, because you all know the action does not mean anything. A person can do the right action for the wrong motive and the wrong action for the right motive – it is never in the action. I am concerned with your own feeling about yourself, with your own attitudes toward yourself.
QA190 QUESTION: I feel I’ve made considerable progress in this work over a relatively short period of time. However, this progress has been realized deeply internally rather than in the outward circumstances. So there must be a blind spot somewhere that I’m not aware of. What can the blind spot be and how can I get rid of it?
ANSWER: First of all let me say that it is quite true what you said, that the progress is really very remarkable. I would say that the blind spot consists in still being blind to your fear and your defenses and your resistances, and to the specificness of these resistances, which is: to expose your vulnerability; to expose your hurts; to expose your feelings which you cannot control; and to expose a certain sense of helplessness.
It is still very important for you to preserve a front of control to be the kind of person you think you ought to be, and your lack of awareness of this factor is the blind spot. The moment you can focus on this and be aware of this, a lot of this wall will thin out. From an iron wall it will become a stone wall, and eventually a wooden one, and still a little later it will become but a fog that clouds the real feeling world of yours, not only as it appears to others but also as it appears to yourself.
This is, therefore, my recommendation to you – to very specifically focus, to meditate in this respect on, “Where am I still afraid to expose my real feelings, my real sense of helplessness and inadequacy, to myself and also to those I am associated with closely in this work?”
There is still a lot of guardedness here, and the moment you can, yourself, pinpoint the guardedness and admit the guardedness, even before you are ready to let go of it, you will have approached directly that which you call a blind spot. This is my advice.
QA221 QUESTION: How can I become more open and aware of myself and others?
ANSWER: Only by looking into yourself, by removing the blindfolds that still exist and that – as a result of an intensified Pathwork, and facing every aspect of yourself – will vanish. When the blindfolds will vanish, that awareness will come as a by-product, almost unbidden.
QA238 QUESTION: My life is unfolding. I’m learning to give and to love and I have many, many things in my life which I’m very happy about. Yet something in me doesn’t really allow me to feel the full pleasure of what I’ve created and the full flow of my feelings.
ANSWER: It is coming nearer and closer, but there is still this relatively thin wall of fog, as if the joyousness is insulated through a cotton wall, let us say. That is because you still doubt your right to deserve it, and simultaneously, your goodwill to truly be more and more committed to loving and to following the will of God at all times. The one is caused by the other.
As you grow stronger in that commitment, you will also grow stronger in your self-esteem and your ability to accept pleasure and joy – and the cotton wall will dissolve.