When you are on the defensive, you are frightened; you feel threatened and endangered. There certainly are realistic dangers, and the human system is equipped to deal with them. If an actual attack is made on you, all your faculties will withdraw from their usual preoccupations and will be directed to and concentrated on this one danger. In order to deal with an urgent issue at the moment, you need all your faculties to focus on that one point.
Pathwork Lectures 1996 Ed.
The 1996 Edition, which contains 258 lectures, some of which were transcribed from question and answer sessions, has been edited to simplify the complex language structure in which the original lectures were created. Eva’s native tongue was German and her sentence structure reflected this, sometimes resulting in awkward English usage. This edition also eliminates what can be seen as sexist terminology, common in the period of transmission of the material but not accepted in practice today and, in general, simplifies the language where to do so will not interfere with the meaning of the lecture itself.
The first cardinal sin is PRIDE. I have discussed this in the past.* You all know its origin, reason, effects, and side effects. Briefly: pride is always a compensation for feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. That the effects of your pride must lead to separateness is self-explanatory.
You have learned that it is very harmful to force yourself to feel love when you do not experience it. In such a case, the wrong kinds of will and love are used and therefore a negative result is produced. Yet you also know that if you do not give love, you cannot receive it. Therefore, consciously or unconsciously, you try to force it. You use your will to produce a feeling that as yet does not exist in you.
Your real self cannot be governed by will or by force. It is a direct manifestation, not of thought and will, but of a spontaneous, creative experience that comes into being unbidden, when least expected. This is very important to remember and to never keep out of sight.
In your daily life many possibilities are offered to you to see yourself as you are; to verify what you really feel, rather than what you try to feel. All you have to do is to remind yourself constantly to be alert to this reality in you; to cultivate the awareness.
Let us first define the difference. In sadness you accept without self-pity a painful fact of life as something beyond your power to change. When you are truly sad, without depression, you not only feel it as a healthy growing pain free of hopelessness, but you are sad due to an outer circumstance, knowing it is going to pass. There is no superimposition, no hiding, no shifting of emotions. In depression the outer circumstance may be the same, but your feelings of pain are, to quite an extent, due to other reasons than the outer occurrence.
Within each individual there exists a well of wisdom and love. It is a treasure deep within you which can come to the fore only as you become aware of all those aspects of yourself that bar access to the treasure. You are accustomed to look for truth, guidance, and solutions to your problems outside yourself — perhaps through wise teachings, through a helping hand. But the most reliable and realistic answers come from inside yourself. In order to tap the well, outside help is necessary, but it is valuable only if it succeeds in bring you to the inner source.
. . . little and unjustified guilts substitute for the real guilt of withdrawal, unlovingness, and isolation. In other words, these little guilts are supposed to atone for violating the great cosmic inner forces, breaking the flow, as it were. This very deep-rooted guilt prevents you from claiming your freedom, asserting yourself, feeling that you deserve to be happy.
The most difficult thing for a human being is to face the lower self, and it is in connection with the lower self that real guilt exists. You go to any length to avoid facing the lower self. Perhaps you are capable and willing to face parts of it, yet certain other parts you are absolutely unwilling to accept.
QUESTION: How do faith in God and hope tie in with this path of self-purification?
ANSWER: Do you see any contradiction between our path and faith in God and hope?
When a new child enters this earth, its soul-stuff is very malleable, very soft. Within this soul-stuff lie all the potentials — the talents, qualities, tendencies, characteristics, and also the unresolved problems. It is according to these potentials — positive, as well as negative — that the entity grows.
Tonight I should like to discuss a new topic, humanity’s relationship to time. This is, indeed, an important subject. My words will be very helpful, if you take the trouble of pondering them and trying to apply them to yourself. What I will say may at first seem utterly inapplicable to your personal lives because of its abstract, philosophical and metaphysical nature.
And now, my friends, I wish to discuss a topic I have not gone into before, identification with oneself, as opposed to identification with others. Last time I talked about humanity’s relationship to time. I said, in essence, that very rarely do people live in the now. They push into the future. They pull back into the past. Often these two contradictory movements happen simultaneously. In both alternatives, you strain away from the now.
People often say that life is difficult and painful, that it is a confusing and puzzling ordeal, that there is no meaning to it. They believe that they are separate from life, but they are not! Regardless of how your life appears, it is an exact facsimile of how you experience yourself. Your personal life, as it manifests for you, is a conglomeration of all your attitudes and traits.
Through your work of self-search, deeper levels of understanding are opened up, so that words of truth will directly reach those inner levels — or have at least a chance of doing so. It is therefore important to discuss the same subjects from different vantage points at specific phases of your pathwork. What you have heretofore understood in a shallow way will then be more profoundly comprehended. Always use your new understanding in conjunction with proper meditation. These lectures can be regarded as meditations.
In this final session of the year, I would like to restate certain facets and goals of this path of self-realization. When you live unto the day without understanding the relationship between you and your life, you must be in despair. Whether or not you know it, you go through life searching for the answer. Only too often you seek the answer outside of yourself; and there, as you know, it can never be found.
When you pursue this path, you discover certain areas in yourself that you are ashamed to acknowledge, even to yourself. What you may be ashamed of may be faults, but not always and not necessarily. You may be as ashamed of very legitimate needs as you are of faults, or of assets, for that matter. First you are not even aware that such shames exist. It takes a considerable amount of time and effort before you become aware of those facets within yourself you are deeply ashamed to face. You cover these facets with a pretense that is the reverse of your specific shame.
Many manifestations of your earth life symbolize duality because so many things appear as pairs of opposites. In philosophical thinking, humankind itself is paired — man and woman, night and day, life and death. These are but a few examples of how life on earth presents itself in two-way splits. Humankind thus expresses a twofold split that manifests in many other ways, . . . .
A long time ago, I gave a lecture about the life force. Let us look into this again with the greater understanding you have gained. The life force is a free-flowing energy current, manifest in the entire universe. Wherever an organization fulfills certain essential conditions, it tunes into the life force. The life force permeates and revitalizes it. It lives. A living organism comes into existence.
. . . . This will give you greater understanding and a wider vision of the relationship between the individual and the totality of all individuals. It will enable you to visualize that humanity as a whole is an entity, governed by the same laws as the individual who is a part of the bigger body — humankind. There are aspects within the individual that you do not fully understand and therefore cannot control, thereby destroying union, peace and integration of the personality. This also applies to humankind as a whole.
As you know from my previous talks, each emotion, each feeling, each thought, each attitude, each need is an energy-current. There are many different types of energy, corresponding to the type of feeling or need. The integrated individual with a full rich life expresses a variety of needs and feelings — not just a few.
All who fulfill themselves contribute something to life. They enrich life not merely by using their vocational abilities but also through their ability to relate to other human beings and have fruitful contacts with them. As self-development proceeds, barriers fall; fear of others, and fear of oneself in connection with others vanishes, and therefore true relatedness becomes possible.
To the degree you are unaware of what goes on within you, you will fear the passing of time and the “great unknown.” When one is young, these fears may be assuaged. But sooner or later every human being will be confronted more directly with the fear of death. I want to emphasize it again: to the degree that you know yourself, you fulfill your life, yourself, your dormant potential. And to that degree death will not be feared but experienced as an organic development. The unknown will no longer pose a threat.
Whatever is hidden from awareness continues to govern you without your being able, through your reason, to change it. Hence it is of utmost importance to detect such hidden erroneous outlooks.
Let us first recapitulate the meaning of the yes-and no-currents. The yes-current is the expression of the supreme intelligence and creative universal force. It is the life force, . . .